7/31/2005

Saudi Prince Bandar Resigns as Ambassador to U.S.

A close friend of the first President Bush, Bandar was at the White House during the 1991 Gulf War, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Ahead of the invasion, Bandar was even called in by the current President Bush to view the attack plans.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said Bandar - who had held the post for 22 years but had been out of Washington for most of the past year - was stepping down for "personal reasons."

He will be replaced by Prince Turki bin al-Faisal, a former head of Saudi intelligence and current ambassador to Britain.

Bandar's resignation coincides with looming changes in Saudi Arabia's ruling hierarchy. King Fahd is seriously ill. Crown Prince Abdullah, who has been de facto ruler during Fahd's long illness and will become king after Fahd's death, is expected to name Prince Sultan - Bandar's father - as the next crown prince.

Sultan is already 76, and how long he might serve is not certain. There are concerns about an eventual fight for the throne among the next generation - the hundreds of grandsons of Saudi founder Abdul Aziz, including Bandar.

Bandar has been rumored to be in line for a top security post in Riyadh.

"What we are seeing is a generational change or the realignment of the family," said Edward S. Walker, president of the Middle East Institute, who has served as American ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel and was assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from 1999-2001...

Bandar's influence in Washington seemed to wane somewhat in recent years, especially after the Sept. 11 attacks. Crown Prince Abdullah had his own foreign policy adviser in Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, who seemed to speak more directly for the crown prince and has increasingly become the public face of the kingdom in Washington.

Saudi Prince Bandar Resigns as Ambassador to U.S.

Prince Bandar, Saudi Ambassador to U.S. Steps Down After 22 Years

Thursday, July 21, 2005; Page A02

Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the dean of Washington's diplomatic corps and confidant of presidents both Republican and Democratic over the past 22 years, has resigned and will be replaced by the former head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service.

Bandar, a former air force pilot who came to the job with limited diplomatic experience, ended up as a central player in Washington politics. Famed for his cigars and good-humored confidence that sometimes bordered on audacity, he brokered deals that heavily influenced U.S. policies and cemented American ties to the world's largest oil producer. A Saudi statement cited unspecified personal reasons for the move.


Saudi ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan pauses while answering reporters' questions outside of the West Wing of the White House in this Wednesday, April 21, 2004 file photo in Washington. Bandar is resigning for what the Saudi foreign ministry said Wednesday, July 20, 2005 were
Saudi ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan. (Charles Dharapak - AP)

In a reflection of his influence, officials in the first Bush administration referred to him as "Top Gun." He had such direct access to presidents and Cabinet members that he could show up at their offices unscheduled and gain entry. He once arrived at the State Department with ten bags of McDonalds hamburgers for a 10 p.m. strategy session -- when top officials had no idea he was coming and were discussing an initiative that was still secret. The current Bush administration reviewed war plans with him before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

His departure comes at a sensitive time because of fears of instability in a country that has become a pillar of U.S. policy and a vital energy source. In yet another scare, the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh warned American residents yesterday that militants are planning new terrorist attacks but said it had no details on the target. Saudi security forces announced the discovery of bomb-making materials used in previous al Qaeda attacks. They were found in a hideout south of the capital.

Saudi Arabia also faces political challenges, with King Fahd incapacitated by a stroke and with many senior princes aging. Fahd was hospitalized recently amid signs that the royal family is preparing for a transition to Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler. Bandar's father, the defense minister, is the leading candidate to be crown prince, although he is recovering from stomach cancer, U.S. officials say.

Prince Bandar will be replaced by Prince Turki al Faisal, son of the late King Faisal. He headed Saudi intelligence for 14 years and is the ambassador to Britain. He, too, has long-standing ties to Washington...

Bandar also served as a secret conduit for U.S. messages to top Arab officials, from then-Syrian President Hafez Assad to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, said former assistant secretary of state Edward S. Walker. "He played a role constantly and repeatedly."

The prince was pugnacious on Saudi priorities, such as when he prodded Libya and the United States into a rapprochement neither wanted. During President Bill Clinton's 1998 visit to South Africa, then-President Nelson Mandela pulled the U.S. leader aside for a one-on-one in the next room -- where, unbeknownst to Clinton, Bandar was waiting to press the issue. National security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger was "furious that Bandar had outwitted him" by getting Mandela to help him, Indyk recalled.

Bandar pressured Libya into admitting culpability for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and paying the victims' families. A secret U.S.-Libyan dialogue took place in Bandar's residences in Europe, U.S. officials said.

Bandar, who was the product of his father's liaison with a family slave, had a wily ability to blend Riyadh's wealth and Washington's power for a common end.


Saudi Ambassador to U.S. Steps Down After 22 Years

Bin Laden still commanding attacks - Saudi envoy

LONDON (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden is still giving direct orders for al Qaeda attacks, Saudi Arabia's next ambassador to the United States said on Sunday.

Outgoing Saudi ambassador to Britain Prince Turki al-Faisal said some of the most recent attacks attributed to al Qaeda in the oil-rich kingdom had been directly ordered by the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

'Some of the events (attacks) that occurred in the kingdom over the past 2-1/2 years were under the immediate directions of the leadership of al Qaeda, particularly bin Laden,' Turki said in comments broadcast by Reuters Television on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia has been battling a two-year wave of violence by supporters of Saudi-born bin Laden's al Qaeda network, who are trying to drive Westerners out of the world's biggest oil exporter and destabilise the pro-Western ruling family.

Many top militants have been killed or captured and the pace of attacks has slowed, but Western diplomats say the threat remains.

There has been an ongoing debate over how much direct control bin Laden exercises over al Qaeda since a U.S.-led international effort to capture him and his top lieutenants began in 2001 after the attacks on the United States.

Turki said some al Qaeda groups operated autonomously because they were in places where it was difficult to communicate with al Qaeda's central command.

'In such cases, it is left to those in charge of those networks to decide when, how and where to take their measures,' Turki said.

Turki's former role as Saudi foreign intelligence chief brought him into contact with bin Laden when both the United States and Saudi Arabia were supporting Arab mujahideen (freedom fighters) fighting Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan.

The prince later tried but failed to persuade Afghanistan's Taliban rulers to hand bin Laden back to Saudi Arabia, a failure diplomats believe led him to leave his job just 10 days before the September 11 attacks.

Turki is due to take over as Saudi ambassador to the United States from Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who enjoyed unrivalled access to the very top of U.S. political power.

Bandar, who resigned in mid-July, is a friend of the Bush family and used his close White House contacts to weather the storm after the 2001 strikes on New York and Washington by mainly Saudi hijackers.

International news from swissinfo, the Swiss news platform

Informed Comment: London Bombings: State of Play

Juan Cole blogs:

Somalian-British Osman Hussein, captured in Rome. He was traced using his cell phone!

The use of two distinct ethnic networks for the two operational cells was an excellent way to throw the police off the trail and prepare the way for the July 21 bombings. The police would have been looking at British/Pakistani networks after the first bombing. The question of what ties the two networks together is the real question. It would only be necessary that the two operational cell leaders-- say Muhammad Sidique Khan and Yasin Hassan Omar-- knew a third person. Or that they each had a handler who knew the third person.



Informed Comment

Informed Comment: US military base near Fallujah takes mortar fire, no peep from the press

You're not allowed to blog about the Iraq War critically if you are an active duty serviceman over there. This is why we know so little about what is really going on. Few will risk reporting on the reality while Don Rumsfeld wants boosterism and cheerleading.

I reported a few days ago that a US military base near Fallujah had taken mortar fire. Aljazeerah even had film showing damage to a building as US troops standing around. I noted that the wire services and other reporters appeared to have ignored the story. I heard from a relative of someone serving in Fallujah, who said that all the bases around there take mortar fire so frequently that it has become a big yawn for the troops. Now, since march the US military has conducted a vigorous propaganda campaign proclaiming how nice post-invasion Fallujah is, how life has returned to normal, with bustling traffic and trade, and how it is the safest city in Iraq. While some quarters may in fact have gotten back to a semblance of normality, not all the city has, and the area isn't safe, just as Anbar province in general is not. The reason we don't know more about the real situation is that the troops are being forbidden to tell us about it. Most of what they could reveal would not in fact endanger the US military. But it would endanger the propaganda and black psy-ops campaigns being run on us by the civilians in the Department of Defense

Informed Comment

BBC: Iraq's descent into bombing quagmire

By John Simpson
BBC world affairs editor

Here in Baghdad, it's beginning to feel like a critical moment.

Scene of a suicide bombing in Mussayib, Iraq
A tanker bomb killed nearly 100 people in Musayyib
In the last week this city has seen 22 car bombs, with 10 on a single day - last Friday. Not far from Baghdad, at Musayyib, between Hilla and Karbala, nearly 100 Shia Muslims were killed.

The shadowy resistance movements seem to be operating on a new and much more ambitious level.

Last summer, and in the summer of 2003, there were similar peaks, though much lower ones: The ferocious heat seems to produce new reserves of anger and violence here.

As I flew in, sitting in the aircraft cockpit, Baghdad lay dark and irregular, like a blotch of ink, straight ahead of us. Below lay the ribbon of road from the south.

In the months after the US-led invasion of Iraq we used to drive up that road to get to Baghdad. By the beginning of 2004 that was already becoming much too dangerous, and we had to fly.

Notorious road

The pilots looked at each other, and the plane went into a fierce dive, down towards the military airfield on the south-west of the ink-blotch.

We straightened out, then banked so steeply to the left that everything loose skidded across the cockpit floor. Then a sudden turn, equally heart-wrenching, in the other direction.

During the hour-long flight the pilots scarcely spoke to me. Ever since an RAF Hercules went down north of Baghdad, six months ago, air crews have concentrated totally on the job of getting their planes in safely.

The plane door opened, and we clambered out. The air was as hot as an electric heater: 50C, even in the late afternoon.

The sun glared down angrily through the haze, reddish and inflamed like a nasty wound.


On average as many people are now dying here every day as were killed in the London bombings

Ahead of us lay the most dangerous stretch of road in the world: the highway from Baghdad to the airport. Two car bombs had just been discovered along it.

Another change since I was last here, a few months ago: the Iraqi national police were out in force along the road, stopping cars of particular makes, and particular colours; that's how they found the two car bombs before they went off.

Yet the greater numbers of police haven't stopped the bombers; on the contrary, they have given the bombers a new target - the police checkpoints themselves.

I visit Baghdad at least four times a year, to see how things are developing. Since the fall of Saddam in May 2003, and the capture of Baghdad, after which major operations were declared over, I have been here eleven times.

Each time the security situation has been markedly worse than the time before.

'Endless' bombers

Briefly, after the election in January, which brought an Iraqi government to power, things seemed to improve; then, after some weeks of fewer bombs and fewer deaths, the level of attacks rose again.

Now it is higher than it has been at any time since May 2003. The supply of suicide bombers seems endless.

Two separate campaigns appear to be going on: the Baathist resistance movement which Saddam Hussein planned and provided vast stocks of weapons and money for, is targeting the Iraqi army and police, and to a lesser extent the American and British forces.

An Iraqi soldier points his rifle at a driver at a checkpoint
Iraqi checkpoints have become targets for bombers

As far as anyone can tell, this is the larger and better equipped of the two main underground movements.

The other is the extremist religious movement headed (we assume) by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which announced last year that it was associating itself with al-Qaeda. Foreign Muslims in sizeable numbers have come into the country to support it.

Intelligence officials in Baghdad say this group gives the appearance of being more active, because it apparently has a policy of claiming responsibility for major attacks whether or not it has actually carried them out.

But to be honest, who does what is largely a matter of guesswork.

'Civil war'

Someone, though, is deliberately targeting Shia Muslims. Last Friday's attack in Musayyib was carried out by a suicide bomber driving a hijacked petrol tanker. It exploded outside the Shia mosque.

Both of the main streams of resistance, the Baathists and the supporters of al-Qaeda, are predominantly Sunni, and both seem to believe that they will benefit if the security crisis here turns into an outright civil war between Shias and Sunnis.

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iraq's descent into bombing quagmire

"There is NO god here"

Not me, from someone else online, who shall remain nameless -- law

Having listened in on a flashback my brother was having during his recovery (thanks to the maximum amount possible of morphine they gave him), the war weighs very heavily on many of those who return home.

Only occassionally do we ever talk about how the war has scarred him. In a moment of complete honesty and self-loathing my brother told me there was no way to redeem his soul. There was nothing he could do to make up for the hundreds of lives he took, though he was pretty sure that 98% of his kills were insurgents. His nightmares are of his buddies re-dying in his arms or his own death and the relief it is. He talked about the terror he feels in being with loved ones and bringing them into his twisted world. He worries that he might snap, like other men have done. The fact that he is concerned about it shows me he retains his soul, no matter how tarnished he believes it to be. But since then he has never spoken of it again. And I wait for him, in case he needs me to listen..... And fear that after his recovery, they will re-deploy him back into a living nightmare.

Like many of the current and returning warriors he has a macho image to maintain. They do not talk about the nightmares, the anquish, and the guilt they have shouldered. It is is not the 'manly' thing to do. So, like my brother, they keep up the facade of normalacy and bravado. And I would guess that even with an annonymous survey, they would be relucant to admit to themselves where they really are mentally. Like refusing to see the elephant under the rug because then you'd have to figure out how to get it out of the front door.

My friend in the Army says "There is NO god here", not the one worshiped by the Muslims or by the Christians. He says it is truly god-forsaken and without hope. I would say that comments such as these are made to friends and family more honestly than to surveyors.....

With soldiers making statements like this, how high could morale really be?

Troop morale in Iraq hits 'rock bottom' | csmonitor.com


Specials > Iraq in Transition
from the July 07, 2003 edition

Troop morale in Iraq hits 'rock bottom'
Soldiers stress is a key concern as the Army ponders whether to send more forces.
By Ann Scott Tyson | Special to The Christian Science Monitor
WASHINGTON – US troops facing extended deployments amid the danger, heat, and uncertainty of an Iraq occupation are suffering from low morale that has in some cases hit "rock bottom."

Even as President Bush speaks of a "massive and long-term" undertaking in rebuilding Iraq, that effort, as well as the high tempo of US military operations around the globe, is taking its toll on individual troops.


Related stories
08/01/2005
Iraq constitution may be delayed
more stories...




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Some frustrated troops stationed in Iraq are writing letters to representatives in Congress to request their units be repatriated. "Most soldiers would empty their bank accounts just for a plane ticket home," said one recent Congressional letter written by an Army soldier now based in Iraq. The soldier requested anonymity.

In some units, there has been an increase in letters from the Red Cross stating soldiers are needed at home, as well as daily instances of female troops being sent home due to pregnancy.

"Make no mistake, the level of morale for most soldiers that I've seen has hit rock bottom," said another soldier, an officer from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq.

Such open grumbling among troops comes as US commanders reevaluate the size and composition of the US-led coalition force needed to occupy Iraq. US Central Command, which is leading the occupation, is expected by mid-July to send a proposal to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on how many and what kind of troops are required, as well as on the rotation of forces there.

For soldiers, a life on the road

The rethink about troop levels comes as senior military leaders voice concern that multiple deployments around the world are already taxing the endurance of US forces, the Army in particular. Some 370,000 soldiers are now deployed overseas from an Army active-duty, guard, and reserve force of just over 1 million people, according to Army figures.

Experts warn that long, frequent deployments could lead to a rash of departures from the military. "Hordes of active-duty troops and reservists may soon leave the service rather than subject themselves to a life continually on the road," writes Michael O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution here.

A major Army study is now under way to examine the impact of this high pace of operations on the mental health of soldiers and families. "The cumulative effect of these work hours and deployment and training are big issues, and soldiers are concerned about it," says Col. Charles Hoge, who is leading the survey of 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers for the Walter Reed Institute of Army Research.

Concern over stressed troops is not new. In the late 1990s, a shrinking of military manpower combined with a rise in overseas missions prompted Congress to call for sharp pay increases for troops deployed over a certain number of days.

"But then came September 11 and the operational tempo went off the charts" and the Congressional plan was suspended, according to Ed Bruner, an expert on ground forces at the Congressional Research Service here.

Adding manpower to the region

Despite Pentagon statements before the war that the goal of US forces was to "liberate, not occupy" Iraq, Secretary Rumsfeld warned last week that the war against terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere "will not be over any time soon."

Currently, there are some 230,000 US troops serving in and around Iraq, including nearly 150,000 US troops inside Iraq and 12,000 from Britain and other countries. According to the Pentagon, the number of foreign troops is expected to rise to 20,000 by September. Fresh foreign troops began flowing into Iraq this month, part of two multinational forces led by Poland and Britain. A third multinational force is also under consideration.

A crucial factor in determining troop levels are the daily attacks that have killed more than 30 US and British servicemen in Iraq since Mr. Bush declared on May 1 that major combat operations had ended.

The unexpected degree of resistance led the Pentagon to increase US ground troops in Iraq to mount a series of ongoing raids aimed at confiscating weapons and capturing opposition forces.

A tour of duty with no end in sight

As new US troops flowed into Iraq, others already in the region for several months, such as the 20,000-strong 3rd Infantry Division were retained in Iraq.

"Faced with continued resistance, Department of Defense now plans to keep a larger force in Iraq than anticipated for a period of time," Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, explained in a statement to families a month ago. "I appreciate the turmoil and stress that a continued deployment has caused," he added.

The open-ended deployments in Iraq are lowering morale among some ground troops, who say constantly shifting time tables are reducing confidence in their leadership. "The way we have been treated and the continuous lies told to our families back home has devastated us all," a soldier in Iraq wrote in a letter to Congress.

Security threats, heat, harsh living conditions, and, for some soldiers, waiting and boredom have gradually eroded spirits. An estimated 9,000 troops from the 3rd Infantry Division - most deployed for at least six months and some for more than a year - have been waiting for several weeks, without a mission, to return to the United States, officers say.

In one Army unit, an officer described the mentality of troops. "They vent to anyone who will listen. They write letters, they cry, they yell. Many of them walk around looking visibly tired and depressed.... We feel like pawns in a game that we have no voice [in]."


Troop morale in Iraq hits 'rock bottom' | csmonitor.com

U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Report Low Morale - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - A majority of U.S. soldiers in Iraq say morale is low, according to an Army report that finds psychological stress is weighing particularly heavily on National Guard and Reserve troops.

Still, soldiers' mental health has improved from the early months of the insurgency, and suicides have declined sharply, the report said. Also, substantially fewer soldiers had to be evacuated from Iraq for mental health problems last year. The Army sent a team of mental health specialists to Iraq and Kuwait late last summer to assess conditions and measure progress in implementing programs designed to fix mental health problems discovered during a similar survey of troops a year earlier. Its report, dated Jan. 30, 2005, was released Wednesday.

The initial inquiry was triggered in part by an unusual surge in suicides among soldiers in Iraq in July 2003. Wednesday's report said the number of suicides in Iraq and Kuwait declined from 24 in 2003 to nine last year.

A suicide prevention program was begun for soldiers in Iraq at the recommendation of the 2003 assessment team.

The overall assessment said 13 percent of soldiers in the most recent study screened positive for a mental health problem, compared with 18 percent a year earlier. Symptoms of acute or post-traumatic stress remained the top mental health problem, affecting at least 10 percent of all soldiers checked in the latest survey.

In the anonymous survey, 17 percent of soldiers said they had experienced moderate or severe stress or problems with alcohol, emotions or their families. That compares with 23 percent a year earlier.

The report said reasons for the improvement in mental health are not clear. Among possible explanations: less frequent and less intense combat, more comforts like air conditioning, wider access to mental health services and improved training in handling the stresses associated with deployments and combat.

National Guard and Reserve soldiers who serve in transportation and support units suffered more than others from depression, anxiety and other indications of acute psychological stress, the report said. These soldiers have often been targets of the insurgents' lethal ambushes and roadside bombs, although the report said they had significantly fewer actual combat experiences than soldiers assigned to combat units.

The report recommended that the Army reconsider whether National Guard and Reserve support troops are getting adequate training in combat skills. Even though they do less fighting than combat troops, they might be better suited to cope with wartime stress if they had more confidence in their combat skills, it said.

U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Report Low Morale - Yahoo! News

I formally renounce my vote for Bush...

But I ain't no Liberal!

It's up in the air until 2008.

Stephen


---------------------------------

What about you neocon ? If a NRA member can do it, why can't you ? What are you waiting for ? WW 4 ? -- law


--------------------
"He who joyfully marches to music in rank
and file has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake,
since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice."
-- Albert Einstein

Common Ground Common Sense

From CA to Indiana - Rove editorials

I'm loving it ! (tm) -- law
Online Café _ From CA to Indiana - Rove editorial
Posted by: Indianhead Jul 31 2005, 12:15 AM

Before I hit the sack (check the post time)
I just had to share one more thing....

http://www.southbendtribune.com/stories/thisday/opinion.20050730-sbt-MICH-A10-Operation_coverup.sto

From South Bend (Indiana) Tribune

July 30, 2005


Operation coverup
ANOTHER OPINION

From The Los Angeles Times

Scandals metastasize. That is the pattern since Watergate. What starts out looking like a small, isolated incident gradually reveals itself to be part of a larger abuse of power. Meanwhile, an unraveling coverup adds new elements. Is that happening now with the scandal over White House leaks of the identity of a CIA agent?

Some folks say that as we learn more, the scandal is getting smaller, not larger. Valerie Plame was a CIA functionary commuting openly to agency headquarters, not a spy working behind enemy lines. The law against revealing the identities of intelligence agents is complicated and probably wasn't broken in this case. And the story line gets muddier: Journalists may have revealed Plame's identity to White House honchos.

We don't buy it. However they came to learn about this juicy factoid, people in the Bush administration misused an intelligence secret to discredit a critic of its Iraq policy. And outing Plame, whether illegal or not, did harm to our national security.

It's a good bet that there has already been some lying under oath. One theory about the puzzling tenacity and ferocity of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is that he's switched his attention from the leak itself to perjury by White House officials who were asked about it earlier in the investigation.

President Bush says he won't publicly comment about the Plame case while the investigation continues. But the reason the investigation continues is partly his fault. He should have determined early on who leaked Plame's CIA identity to members of the press, and dealt with it.

Why didn't Bush two years ago just ask Karl Rove and a few others in the administration whether they had leaked Plame's identity to Bob Novak and the others? Why doesn't he ask Rove now? Is it because he knows the answer? Or because he doesn't want to have to fire Rove?

The coverup, in short, is going well.
............

41 ran his war very well, knew when
to hit and when to git...as former CIA I believe he
was mortified when the political baby boomers blew
Valerie's cover.

Ya know they say the acorn don't fall far from the tree...
there must have been a hurricane blowin' when GW was born.

Now that he's big and he's such a failure, he must feel
like a crashing load on The House of Bush.



Common Ground Common Sense Board

My Left Wing :: A Liberal Translation

Maryscott's frontpager Bonddad frontpaged my diary today. Weee!!!! -- law

2006 Voting Guidelines (2): NOT secure enough for a post 9/11 world
by: lawnorder
July 31, 2005 at 14:50:06 America/Los_Angeles
(According to the Left Wing Manifesto "Not only am I FOR it, I hereby declare that if you're a Democrat, Independent, Green, Libertarian, progressive, liberal or just an honest Republican and you don't consider mandating transparency and consistency in all voting procedures nationwide to be the Number One Item on the agenda of the Democratic Party, to say nothing of Democracy itself, then you are either ignorant, deluded or an asshole.

Voting reform is usually an issue after an election, not during the period between elections. It is therefore important to find a way to bring this very important issue into the public dialog at a time when most people don't want to talk about it. I think this diary makes a solid connection between security and establishing voting standards and provides a viable strategy to frame voting standards in a way the public can get behind. - promoted by Bonddad)

No fraud happened in 2004
Not for you guys, for the gun shy kossacks who break in hives every time they hear the word Diebold
Bush won fair and square. Kerry was correct to concede. Electronic voting was not used in all precincts. We lost the election because of values, gays, deaniacs, feminazis, Moveon, Greenpeace, Nader... take your pick. But we were not cheated. There is absolutely no proof of cheating.


There. I said it. Can we move on now ? Can we be proactive and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE PITIFUL VOTING TECHNOLOGY WE HAVE ? Can we ignore the tinfoil elephant in the room and forget fraud for a minute ?


On June 24, 2005, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) for public comment. If adopted, the guidelines will become effective in October 2006.


Our current voting system is NOT secure enough for a post 9/11 world

The current voluntary standard is from 1990 and predates palm pilots, wireless computing, the World Wide Web and Al Qaeda terrorism


Please review and comment the 2006 standards
Diaries :: There's More... :: (3 Comments, 1020 words in story)
(+) Bush's Middle Class Squeeze
by: Bonddad
July 31, 2005 at 12:17:47 America/Los_Angeles



Lest I let the impression that I am somehow not aware of the problems facing the US middle class, I present this diary. It is a compilation of numerous posts I have made over the last 6 months which highlight the incredibly difficult problems faced by America’s middle class, largely as a result of Bush’s policies. In short, the middle class is getting fucked half a million different ways and there is no end in sight. It is a problem I have documented in extensive detail....

My Left Wing :: A Liberal Translation

TIME.com: When They Knew -- Aug. 08, 2005

Rove is in the hot seat along with Powell

As the investigation tightens into the leak of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, sources tell TIME some White House officials may have learned she was married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson weeks before his July 6, 2003, Op-Ed piece criticizing the Administration. That prospect increases the chances that White House official Karl Rove and others learned about Plame from within the Administration rather than from media contacts. Rove has told investigators he believes he learned of her directly or indirectly from reporters, according to his lawyer.

The previously undisclosed fact gathering began in the first week of June 2003 at the CIA, when its public-affairs office received an inquiry about Wilson's trip to Africa from veteran Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus. That office then contacted Plame's unit, which had sent Wilson to Niger, but stopped short of drafting an internal report. The same week, Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman asked for and received a memo on the Wilson trip from Carl Ford, head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Sources familiar with the memo, which disclosed Plame's relationship to Wilson, say Secretary of State Colin Powell read it in mid-June. Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage may have received a copy then too.

When Pincus' article ran on June 12, the circle of senior officials who knew about the identity of Wilson's wife expanded. "After Pincus," a former intelligence officer says, "there was general discussion with the National Security Council and the White House and State Department and others" about Wilson's trip and its origins. A source familiar with the memo says neither Powell nor Armitage spoke to the White House about it until after July 6. John McLaughlin, then deputy head of the CIA, confirms that the White House asked about the Wilson trip, but can't remember exactly when. One thing he's sure of, says McLaughlin, who has been interviewed by prosecutors, is that "we looked into it and found the facts of it, and passed it on." --By Massimo Calabresi. With reporting by Timothy J. Burger, Michael Duffy and Viveca Novak
From the Aug. 08, 2005 issue of TIME magazine

Related Stories From The TIME ARCHIVE
* Leaking With A Vengeance Did someone in the Bush Administration unmask a CIA spy to punish her husband for challenging the case for war? A classic tale of whispers, retribution and rivalries [10/13/2003]
* Anatomy Of A Leak Reports that Iraq was buying African uranium sparked Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger, his wife's exposure as a covert agent and a bitter fight between the White House and the CIA. [10/13/2003]
* The Rove Problem Did Bush's top aide commit a crime talking to reporters about a spy? Here's what the case is really about--and why it grows more fascinating [7/17/2005]

TIME.com: When They Knew -- Aug. 08, 2005

Daily Kos: WaPo Page One: World Not Set To Deal With Bird Flu

crossposted to The Next Hurrah

Regular readers of TNH [and Daily Kos] will note a familiar theme on page one of the Washington Post:

World Not Set To Deal With Flu

Public health officials preparing to battle what they view as an inevitable influenza pandemic say the world lacks the medical weapons to fight the disease effectively, and will not have them anytime soon.

Public health specialists and manufacturers are working frantically to develop vaccines, drugs, strategies for quarantining and treating the ill, and plans for international cooperation, but these efforts will take years. Meanwhile, the most dangerous strain of influenza to appear in decades -- the H5N1 "bird flu" in Asia -- is showing up in new populations of birds, and occasionally people, almost by the month, global health officials say.
It in Russian birds, now. And that, btw, means Europe.

The public, conditioned to believe in the power of modern medicine, has heard little of how poorly prepared the world is to confront a flu pandemic, which is an epidemic that strikes several continents simultaneously and infects a substantial portion of the population.

Since the current wave of avian flu began sweeping through poultry in Southeast Asia more than 18 months ago, international and U.S. health authorities have been warning of the danger and trying to mobilize. Research on vaccines has accelerated, efforts to build up drug supplies are underway, and discussions take place regularly on developing a coordinated global response.

Daily Kos: WaPo Page One: World Not Set To Deal With Bird Flu

The Meaning of the S Word

Taoism: Shit happens.
Buddism: Shit happens because of desire.
Zen: What is the sound of shit happening?
Confusianism: Confusius says: 'Shit happens.'
Islam: If shit happens, it's because Allah willed it.
Catholism: If shit hsppens, it's because you deserve it.
Protestantism: Shit happens because we're being punished.
Hinduism: This shit happened before.
Judaism: Why does shit always happen to us?
Christian Science: There is no shit.
Exhistenitalism: Shit happens & then you die.
New Agers: You needed to have this shit in your life. Learn the lesson it has to teach. Now visualize it away.
Quadrinity Process: Shit happens, re-cycle it.
Rastafarianism: Let's smoke this shit!

Bushianity: Shit happened. It's Clinton's fault.


Religion :: Religion"

Lizardman skeleton

Ewwwwww!!!! Photoshop, fake skeleton or what ? -- law

This picture below was taken this morning near the
Safaniya beach in the eastern province. Aramco
security & industrial security force are debating
as to whether to issue a warring close the beach or
do nothing and assist in man power control
investigation resulted that there are more than
3500 for this kind of human-animal in the tanajib
area. It is 25 years since last time it was seen in
the tanajib area."



Religion :: Religion

U.S.: Blackout Shows America's Infrastructure Vulnerable To Terrorists

The massive blackout that crippled the northeastern United States last week may have been caused by human or mechanical error, but security analysts say the next one could be an act of terror -- and that the U.S. government must act now to protect its electrical infrastructure.

Washington, 18 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Everyone agrees that the power failure that blacked out more than 240,000 square kilometers of the United States and Canada last week should not have happened.

But it did, and security analysts say it can happen again -- next time perhaps with the help of terrorists.

Even before all the power was restored to the state of New York, its governor, George Pataki, expressed incredulity at the massive collapse in electrical service on 14 August. At a news conference in New York City, Pataki said: "It is 2003 and there is no reason why most of the Northeast, a lot of the Midwest, cascading through Canada, should have this type of systemic power failure. We were told after the blackouts in the '60s and then in the '70s that it wasn't going to happen again and, in fact, I'm advised this is the largest blackout the country has ever experienced."

Pataki should not be surprised. The United States electrical grid is old and notoriously poorly maintained. And yet the country's electrical system must provide warmth in the winter and cool air in the summer in a country that is subject to temperature extremes greater than those experienced in much of Europe.

The recent heat wave in Europe brought high temperatures in the mid-30s Celsius. Many Europeans are not accustomed to such heat, and as a result rely much less frequently on air conditioners. But such temperatures are common in many parts of the United States during the summer, and as a result, air conditioning is far more common in American offices, shops, and homes.

The country's electrical grid system can run energy-hungry air conditioners, along with lights and other ubiquitous appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, and microwave ovens. But only barely.

Unexpected blackouts are not uncommon in the United States, nor are so-called "brownouts" -- targeted electrical service reductions due to a power shortage or excessive use by consumers. But never has there been a blackout in North America that covered so wide an area or affected so many people.

When subways and elevators stopped, when air conditioners went silent, when televisions blinked off from the center of the country to the Atlantic Ocean, many people wondered if the blackout was a coordinated terrorist attack on America's infrastructure.

Quickly it became clear that the cause was likely more benign, but the very fact of the blackout opens a new opportunity for sabotage, according to Jamie Metzl, the coordinator for homeland security programs at the Council on Foreign Relations, a private policy research center in New York.

U.S.: Blackout Shows America's Infrastructure Vulnerable To Terrorists

Major Religions Ranked by Size

# Christianity: 2.1 billion
# Islam: 1.3 billion
# Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
# Hinduism: 900 million
# Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
# Buddhism: 376 million
# primal-indigenous: 300 million
# African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
# Sikhism: 23 million
# Juche: 19 million
# Spiritism: 15 million
# Judaism: 14 million
# Baha'i: 7 million
# Jainism: 4.2 million
# Shinto: 4 million
# Cao Dai: 4 million
# Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
# Tenrikyo: 2 million
# Neo-Paganism: 1 million
# Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
# Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
# Scientology: 500 thousand



Major Religions Ranked by Size

Books: Unholy Alliance : Radical Islam and the American Left

Hitler would be proud of his disciples -- law

all too true, March 10, 2005
Reviewer: Albert Lee (Denver, CO) - See all my reviews
This is a brillant book by Horowitz. He clearly shows that
liberalism, old-europe socialism and Islamic terrorism have
the same intellectual basis and the same goals. That goal
being the destruction of America and its culture of Freedom.

His well-researched book shows that the ACLU, NAACP and other
liberal groups are nothing more than fronts for the support of
Islamic terrorism. The liberals give the terrorists their ideas,
then send them out to attack, protect them after and then run
propoganda campaigns in free countries telling us we have no
choice but to surrender to the terrorists demands.

This opened my eyes to something else. The fall of communism
in the soviet union didn't end the war. It only drove the
enemies of freedom into deep cover. The war on America,
its values, its freedom, its culture and its special place
of moral authority in the world continues by other means.

Horowitz shows that we need to open new fronts in the great
war on terrorism. We not only need to get the terrorists in
their caves, but put an end to their ideological base within
free countries. We need higher education reform, a law to
go after not just financial support for terror, but intellectual
support of it as well by front organizations like those shown
by Horowitz. We also must clean up the law by first removing
the judges that support evil and then creating a system of
ethical standards for the legal profession to eliminate the
idea that any tactic is allowed under the law to free the guilty.
A lawyer who enters false pleas of innocence or defends someone
who they know to be guilty should be driven from the practice
of law.

Amazon.com: Books: Unholy Alliance : Radical Islam and the American Left

Books: In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power

IN THE PATH OF GOD is a reprinting of the 1983 edition that came out during the Reagan era. Following its initial publication reviewers noted its hostility towards Islam and Muslims. One such reviewer observed in the Washington Post (12/11/83) that Pipes reveals "a disturbing hostility to contemporary Muslims [...] he professes respect for Muslims, but is frequently contemptuous of them." The writer went on to add that Pipes "is swayed by the writings of anti-Muslim writers," and that his book "is marred by exaggerations, inconsistencies, and evidence of hostility to the subject."

Not much of the content has changed in this latest publication. The important distinction that Pipes has more recently been drawing between "Islamism" (the political ideology) and "Islam" (the religion) is more or less absent from this work.

The shortcomings of the earlier work remain. One can't help to wonder whether anyone could write about Judaism or Christianity with the same liberty that Pipes gives himself with Islam. His arguments, unfortunately, are deceptively convincing on the surface, until further scrutiny.

What is one to make, for example, of Pipes's categorization of Westerners who have a favorable view of Islam as either those "who feel ill at ease in the West," or as "apologists...[who] promote Islam for profit" (pp. 14-15)? This is a sweeping generalization, and it is unfortunate that a self-proclaimed intellectual of his stature can resort to such a gross and binary simplification. His train of thought implies that no one can be an adherent of mainstream Western values and at the same time admire Islam. This mindset would presume that such respectable scholars of Islam, such as Charles Butterworth, Michael Sells, and Jane McAullife, to name a few, who often speak highly of Islam, are either achieving a personal gain by doing so or are "ill at ease" in their own societies.

The book is also marred by numerous errors. But the problem is not so much the errors as it is the kinds of errors one finds, and what they show us about the ideological nature of his scholarship. For example, in chapter 4 Pipes claims that "Muhammad abrogated the treaty [with the pagans] and captured Mecca." This is false. Any historian will tell you that it was the Koreish (then the pagan enemies of Muhammad) who launched an offensive onslaught against an ally of the Prophet, thus abrogating the treaty. Pipes's claim that Muhammad abrogated the treaty to capture Mecca presents the Prophet of Islam as a crude liar and conniving leader.

His ignorance of Muslim theology comes out when he claims the Koran falsely implies the Trinity to consist of Mary, Jesus, and the Father (p. 78). The Koran only presents a scenario of Judgment Day in which Jesus will deny having called people to worship him and Mary (5:116). Infact, there was a sect known as the Maryamites in early history that actually worshipped Mary. Had Pipes examined the verse, its commentaries, and the Near and Middle Eastern historical and theological context in which the Koran emerged, he would not have put forth the argument so hastily. But perhaps that would be making too much of a demand on someone already intent on showing us how the Sacred Text of Islam has it all wrong.

Some of his historical mistakes are simply embarrassing, coming as they are from someone who holds a PhD in Islamic history. "They [Shi'i Muslims] recognize as valid," he writes, "only the third of those first four caliphs, Ali ibn Abi Talib." Ali ibn Abi Talib was the fourth caliph, not the third, a fact that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Islamic history should be familiar with. To use Bernard Lewis's words in another context, "This would be rather like putting the English Civil War before the Normal Conquest. Although no doubt irrelevant to the main issue, this procedure would not inspire confidence in the writer's ability to evaluate work on English [read: Islamic ] history" (p109, Islam and the West).

Athough IN THE PATH OF GOD has been widely praised by non-specialists since its publication 20 years ago, it has hardly been used by academics who are actually familiar with the territory, and who are able to detect the politically charged nature of his writing, which presents itself as disinterested scholarship but which actually distorts the subject. Only those experts who share the one-sided political leanings of this author utilize and recommend his works.

Amazon.com: Books: In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power

Daily Kos: CIA supressing new book about Tora Bora

When Bin Laden slipped through Bush & Rummies fingers.. Never to be caught again -- law

CIA supressing new book about Tora Bora
by topdog08
Sat Jul 30th, 2005 at 19:36:27 CDT

Did you see this article? We've got to keep the focus on this story, until the truth comes out. Bush and Co have convinced the media to ignore investigating what really happened at Tora Bora in 2001 for too long. Don't let this slip by.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The CIA is squelching publication of a new book detailing events leading up to Osama bin Laden's escape from his Tora Bora mountain stronghold during the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, says a former CIA officer who led much of the fighting. In a story he says he resigned from the agency to tell, Gary Berntsen recounts the attacks he coordinated at the peak of the fighting in eastern Afghanistan in late 2001, including how U.S. commanders knew bin Laden was in the rugged mountains near the Pakistani border and the al-Qaeda leader's much-discussed getaway....

During the 2004 election, President Bush and other senior administration officials repeatedly said that commanders did not know whether bin Laden was at Tora Bora when U.S. and allied Afghan forces attacked there in 2001.


* topdog08's diary :: ::
*


They rejected allegations by Sen. John Kerry, then the Democratic presidential nominee, that the United States had missed an opportunity to capture or kill bin Laden because they had "outsourced" the fighting to Afghan warlords.

"When I watched the presidential debates, it was clear to me ... the debate and discussions on Tora Bora were -- from both sides -- completely incorrect," said Berntsen, who won't provide details until the agency finishes declassifying his book. "It did not represent the reality of what happened on the ground."

A Republican and avid Bush supporter, Berntsen, 48, retired in June and hasn't spoken publicly before.


UPDATE: You can already pre-order it for October 18th.

It covers his role handling the agency's response to al-Qaeda's 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa. And the book continues through late 2001 when he was assigned to command a CIA team inserted into Afghanistan, code-named "Jawbreaker" — the title of his book, tentatively due out in October.

Daily Kos: CIA supressing new book about Tora Bora

Don't you miss the years when Democrats were in charge of the Senate ?

If I was writing an ad for Democrats -- law

Don't you miss the years when Democrats were in charge of the Senate ?
True balance. Respect for different views. Keeping what's good for the country above partisanship. Honor even with opponents. Not everything goes. Admitting errors and correcting them...

When was the last time you saw GOP doing any of the above ? Isn't this the way your mom raised you ? Do you think she was wrong ?

The next sentences may be too much.. -- law

Why would you accept the complete opposite from your government ?

Vote Democrat. For our founding fathers. For the future. Our country depends on it.

Daily Kos :: Comments The Wolves Among Us

7/30/2005

Daily Kos: More Bad Environmental News: Arctic Sea Ice Melting

More Bad Environmental News: Arctic Sea Ice Melting
by Steven D [Subscribe]
Sat Jul 30th, 2005 at 15:45:12 CDT

(From the diaries -- Plutonium Page)

And its melting at a greater rate than ever before in history:

Satellite data for the month of June show Arctic sea ice has shrunk to a record low, raising concerns about climate change, coastal erosion, and changes to wildlife patterns.

Not only that, but 2005 is on pace to become the hottest year in recorded history.

A weak El Nino and human-made greenhouse gases could make 2005 the warmest year since records started being kept in the late 1800s, NASA scientists said this week.

More on the Great Arctic Melt Off after the break . . .

Daily Kos: More Bad Environmental News: Arctic Sea Ice Melting

BBC: Saudi police 'stopped' fire rescue of unveiled girls

Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers.

In a rare criticism of the kingdom's powerful "mutaween" police, the Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls who died in the fire on Monday.

About 800 pupils were inside the school in the holy city of Mecca when the tragedy occurred.

Saudi hospital staff carry a victim of the girl school fire to an ambulance in Mecca
15 girls died in the blaze and more than 50 others were injured
According to the al-Eqtisadiah daily, firemen confronted police after they tried to keep the girls inside because they were not wearing the headscarves and abayas (black robes) required by the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam.

One witness said he saw three policemen "beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya".

The Saudi Gazette quoted witnesses as saying that the police - known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice - had stopped men who tried to help the girls and warned "it is a sinful to approach them".

The father of one of the dead girls said that the school watchman even refused to open the gates to let the girls out.

BBC News | MIDDLE EAST | Saudi police 'stopped' fire rescue

SBS - The World News

Reports have emerged that Iraqi women held at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison were raped by both US and Iraqi jailers, according to human rights groups, following the reports of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops there.

However coalition spokesman Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt said the prisons department is unaware of any such reports at Abu Ghraib, and the reports have not been confirmed.

The International Occupation Watch Centre, an NGO that gathers information on human rights abuses under coalition rule, said one former detainee has told of the alleged rape of her cellmate.

"She claimed she had been raped 17 times...

SBS - The World News

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS: IRAQI WOMEN RAPED AT ABU GHRAIB JAIL

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS: IRAQI WOMEN RAPED AT ABU GHRAIB JAIL
By Rouba Kabbara

May 29, 2004 – (Middle East Online) Iraqi women who were held at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad have complained of rape by both US and Iraqi jailers, according to human rights groups citing alleged victims. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, chief military spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq, told AFP the prisons department was "unaware of any such reports at Abu Ghraib," and the cases were not confirmed first-hand by AFP. Kimmitt said there were at present no female prisoners at Abu Ghraib, which has become notorious after evidence of abuse of male inmates by US military police guards.According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Abu Ghraib held some 30 women in October last year.According to the prison management, there were five at the beginning of this month.

Iman Khamas, head of the International Occupation Watch Center, a non-governmental organisation which gathers information on human rights abuses under coalition rule, said one former detainee had recounted the alleged rape of her cellmate in Abu Ghraib. According to Khamas, the prisoner said her cellmate had been rendered unconscious for 48 hours. "She claimed she had been raped 17 times in one day by Iraqi police in the presence of American soldiers." Mohammed Daham al-Mohammed said the Iraqi group he heads, the Union of Detainees and Prisoners, had been told of a mother of four, arrested in December, who killed herself after being raped by US guards in front of her husband at Abu Ghraib. The account came from the woman's sister who said she had helped in the suicide. According to the sister, the woman had told of "being taken into a cell where she saw her husband attached to the bars."..

Kimmitt said the "total present female criminal population" in Iraq stood at 78, but there were none at Abu Ghraib. While the coalition prisons department was "unaware" of reports of rape at Abu Ghraib, "there have been reports of abuses by Iraqi police in their jails," he said. A spokeswoman for Amnesty International said the London-based human rights group had not received any such reports of rape, and added that the closed nature of Iraqi society made them very difficult to verify.

From: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=10096

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS: IRAQI WOMEN RAPED AT ABU GHRAIB JAIL

One Hundred Twelve Women Assaulted in Iraq, Afghanistan

May 18, 2004 - The US serviceman waited outside the latrine and hit the woman on the back of the head as she exited, knocking her unconscious. He tied her hands with cord, blindfolded her, cut her clothes off with a knife, stuffed her underwear in her mouth and proceeded to rape her. When she regained consciousness and began to resist, he threatened to rape her with the knife instead. He hit her in the head again, this time forcefully between the eyes, again causing her to lose consciousness. When she came to she was transported to another facility where she was interrogated for three hours. She received no medical treatment for her head injuries. For the first few days following the rape she was housed with another woman; she was subsequently left in isolation for an extended period. Her requests for religious counsel were denied.

Sound like the latest exposé from Abu Ghraib? Guess again. It’s just one of the more than 100 incidents of rape, sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct reported in the past 18 months by U.S. women soldiers currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who have been sexually assaulted by fellow U.S. soldiers.

The military’s response to these victims has been grossly inadequate. Many victims did not receive even the most basic medical care– emergency contraception, rape evidence kits, testing for sexually transmitted infections, prophylactic treatment or testing for HIV, and rape crisis counseling are not consistently available. Military personnel lack even common-sense sensitivity as to how to respond to rape trauma; one mental health counselor cleared an Army sergeant who had just been raped to go out on missions again, feeling it would be good for her to “keep busy”. Prosecution of these crimes is delayed indefinitely, and servicewomen must often continue to serve in the same unit with their assailant.

One Hundred Twelve Women Assaulted in Iraq, Afghanistan

The Austin Chronicle Politics: Rove stories

The case of the purloined videotape is far from over, but fingers are already pointing at Karl Rove, Gov. George W. Bush's chief political strategist. There's no proof that Rove or any other of the Bush campaign insiders sent the tape of Bush preparing for his upcoming debate to an ally of Al Gore's two weeks ago. But many pundits are suggesting Rove did it, pointing to a 1986 bugging incident at Rove's office to bolster their allegations.

In October of 1986, Rove was working for Republican Bill Clements in his race against then-Gov. Mark White. A few days before the candidates were to debate, Rove discovered a listening device that had been planted behind a needlepoint picture of an elephant hanging on his wall. The FBI investigated. Accusations and counteraccusations were made. But no charges were ever brought, and the matter slowly dissipated, amid general speculation that Rove had planted the bug himself.

The latest dirty trick took place earlier this month, when a videotape was apparently taken from the offices of Bush media advisor Mark McKinnon. The tape, along with copies of other debate briefing materials, was then mailed to the office of Gore ally, lobbyist, and former U.S. Rep. Thomas Downey, where it arrived on Sept. 13. Only a handful of Bush campaign staffers had access to the materials, including Rove, McKinnon, communications director Karen Hughes, campaign manager Joe Allbaugh, campaign chairman Don Evans, and policy director Josh Bolten.

Although no suspects have been named, the FBI, which is investigating the matter, has told several media outlets that it believes the tape was sent by someone inside the Bush camp, presumably in an attempt to entrap the Gore campaign. And given Rove's history, which includes more than a passing familiarity with dirty tricks, many pundits believe Rove is the chief suspect. Rove did not return calls from the Chronicle.

Adding interest to the video shenanigans are a few other fun facts. In 1986, when Rove was working for Clements, the chief spokesperson for White was an idealistic young turk named Mark McKinnon. It is "outrageous and sad that Rove would suggest the White campaign would be involved in a matter like this," McKinnon told the Austin American-Statesman at the time. Calling the bugging incident "bizarre and incredible," McKinnon said the Clements campaign was "desperate and frayed at the edges."

There's more. The bug was reportedly responsible for tipping Democrats that the Clements campaign had recently hired a Washington-based consultant, whom Rove and Clements campaign manager George Bayoud had discussed hiring over the phone shortly before the matter was mysteriously leaked. The consultant was a sometime blues guitar player renowned for his facility with attack ads and dirty tricks. His name: Lee Atwater.

Oh, one other fact about the 1986 incident stands out: Rove's candidate won that year.

The Austin Chronicle Politics: Naked City

Operation Rockingham: UK's "Office of Special Plans"

by Rowena Thursby

31 July 2004



Britain's Defense of Intelligence Staff's Deputy Chief John Morrison was dismissed in July from his post as chief investigator to the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) for his derisive comments on BBC's Panorama, about the manipulation of intelligence. DIS is the key intelligence unit of the Department of Defense.

Of Blair's "serious and current threat" regarding Iraq's WMD, Morrison asserted on BBC network television:

"You could almost hear the collective raspberry going up around Whitehall".

"…In moving from what the dossier said Saddam had, which was a capability possibly, to asserting that Iraq presented a threat, then the Prime Minister was going way beyond anything any professional analyst would have agreed."

All the more curious then that it was Morrison who set up Operation Rockingham in 1991.

Morrison referred to it protectively as a "tiny cell" set up to offer UN weapons inspectors accurate intelligence regarding WMD.

Possibly Rockingham started out with honourable intentions, but then morphed into a propaganda monster - making both Morrison and Kelly distinctly uncomfortable. It is interesting to observe how this transformation coincided, in the closing months of 2002, with the creation of its counterpart in the US:

Rumsfeld's "Office of Special Plans".

The general consensus seems to be that the US defence secretary couldn't count on the CIA or the State Department to provide a pretext for war in Iraq. So he created a new agency that would tell him what he wanted to hear. It seems the Brits, preferring to be a tad less obvious, decided to apply a little nip and tuck to their "tiny" Rockingham cell.

With this double-headed Hydra in operation, how could we fail to go to war?

Operation Rockingham:

The Truth Seeker - Kelly: 'I'll probably be found dead in the woods'

... he asked Dr Kelly what would happen if the coalition went to war with Iraq. He told the inquiry: "His reply was, which I took at the time to be a throwaway remark, he said 'I will probably be found dead in the woods'.


David Kelly, the government weapons expert, predicted that he would be "found dead in the woods" if Iraq was invaded, months before his apparent suicide, the Hutton Inquiry heard today.

The weapons inspector slashed his wrist in Oxfordshire woodlands after being revealed as the source for BBC claims that the Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been "sexed up" in the run-up to war.

Foreign Office official David Broucher said Dr Kelly had made what he thought to be the "throwaway" remark in February, when they met in Geneva.

Dr Kelly had expected to remain anonymous after meeting BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan, the inquiry had heard earlier.

He had publicly maintained that the Ministry of Defence had been "quite good" when he revealed he had briefed Mr Gilligan. But privately the weapons expert told a trusted contact: "I have been through the wringer."

Dr Kelly told Sunday Times journalist Nick Rufford, shortly after hearing from the MoD that he would be named in the next day's papers: "I am a bit shocked, I was told it would all be confidential."

Mr Broucher told the inquiry Dr Kelly had told him that continued inspections "properly carried out would give a degree of certainty about compliance" with UN disarmament demands.

"He said he had tried to reassure them that if they cooperated with the weapons inspections, they had nothing to fear," Mr Broucher said.

"My impression was that he felt he was in some personal difficulty or embarrassment about this because he felt the invasion might go ahead anyway and somehow it was putting him in a morally ambiguous situation."

Mr Broucher, the Foreign Office's ambassador-ranking permanent representative at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, said: "As David Kelly was leaving, I said to him 'what do you think will happen if Iraq is invaded?'.

"His reply was, which at the time I took to be a throwaway remark, he said 'I will probably be found dead in the woods'."

Mr Broucher said he had discussed the dossier with Dr Kelly and told the inquiry that it was part of his job to "sell" the dossier to senior officials at the UN, many of whom found it "unconvincing".

Dr Kelly had defended the dossier, saying there had been a lot of pressure to make it "as robust as possible".

The Truth Seeker - Kelly: 'I'll probably be found dead in the woods'

The Truth Seeker - Dark Actors at the Scene of David Kelly's Death

Entering the witness box at the Hutton Inquiry on 16th September 2003, one key figure stands out in the events surrounding Dr David Kelly's death. The fact that his testimony contradicts that of five previous witnesses has received no attention in the mainstream press and has failed to be brought out in the Inquiry itself. Moreover, the position of David Kelly's body prior to his arrival is different from its position when he leaves. This man is a British policeman: his name, Detective Constable Coe.

In his testimony before Lord Hutton, DC Coe, the third witness to Kelly's dead body, relates how he is called out at 6.00am on 18th July to Abingdon police station. Here he is instructed (we are not told who by) to make house-to-house enquiries in the village of Longworth, about a mile from Kelly's house. He does not follow these instructions. He heads instead to Southmoor, Kelly's home village. Here he visits Ruth Absalom, one of Kelly's neighbours, who was the last person to speak to the scientist the previous afternoon. From here, rather than make house-to-house enquiries, Coe sets off to the area where Ruth Absalom last sees Kelly to make what he describes to the Inquiry as "a sort of search towards the river".

Perjury?

The next section of DC Coe's testimony contains one of the most blatant discrepancies in the whole of the Hutton Inquiry. While it is clear from his own and other testimonies that he is not alone while in the region of Harrowdown Hill, a serious question mark hangs over the number of people who are with him....

DC Coe Unrecognised by Police Search Team

DC Coe arrives on the scene independently of other police officers - indeed they are not notified that he is to be on the scene at all.

PC Franklin, the officer responsible for the police search, is given to understand that on Friday 18th July only he and his search team leader, PC Sawyer and "6 other officers" are to conduct the search, which is (after conferring with Sergeant Woods on Kelly's oft-frequented routes) set to begin at Harrowdown Hill, the site where Kelly's body is ultimately found. "PC Sawyer and I were going to be the first", said Franklin.

Yet on arriving at the scene they meet Paul Chapman, the volunteer searcher, who directs them to "two uniformed police officers and DC Coe".

"Q: You mentioned DC Coe. Was he part of your search team?
A: No.
Q: What was he doing:
A: He was at the scene. I had no idea what he was doing there or why he was there. He was just at the scene when PC Sawyer and I arrived."

The Truth Seeker - Dark Actors at the Scene of David Kelly's Death

DAVID KELLY AND VICTORIA'S SECRET

DAVID KELLY AND VICTORIA'S SECRET

Originally Published in MEDIUM RARE November 12, 2003

by Jim Rarey

(Republished with permission)

[There have been many new developments throughout this past year in the field of biowarfare and the ongoing epidemic of deaths among world-class microbiologists. One thing many of these scientists have in common is that their work had to do with genetic sequencing, biowarfare and a growing record showing that gene-specific bioweapons are being hotly pursued by a number of governments. FTW is currently planning a major series of articles on these developments for the first part of 2004. As the compelling need to achieve population reduction is becoming as apparent as the deadly effects of Peak Oil and Gas, Jim Rarey takes us further into the murder of David Kelly and the dark recesses of his work as one of Britain's top Biowar experts. --MCR]

December 9, 2003 100 PDT (FTW) -- No, it's not the Victoria's Secret of the soft porn lingerie ads. This is a different Victoria who may have innocently provided the final impetus for the assassination of David Kelly.

In Part I of this writer's *article, The Murder of David Kelly we detailed the numerous red flags in the evidence and testimony submitted at the Hutton inquiry into Kelly's death that showed conclusively that his death was not a suicide. One of the more important "clues" was evidence that his body had been moved after he died to the scene in which it was found. Other testimony showed it to be very doubtful that Kelly had inflicted the knife wounds on his left wrist that severed an unlikely artery but left the most easily reached artery untouched.

In Part II of the article, we detailed Kelly's extensive involvement with and/or knowledge of the bio/chemical weapons programs of the U.K., U.S. and Russia. One author reports Kelly also had visited the Israeli bio/chemical weapons facility. Kelly almost certainly would have been aware of the involvement of two U.K. scientists at Porton Down simultaneously as paid consultants to South Africa's notorious bioweapons program. He had also served as an inspector in Iraq of that country's WMD programs.

We also recited the deplorable treatment Kelly had been subjected to by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Personnel Department in withholding any pay increase over a three-year period as Kelly approached retirement.

However the public perception of Kelly was as the "single source" of statements made by BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan to the effect that the government had "sexed up" the dossier used to justify the war against Iraq. Kelly had voluntarily disclosed to his MoD superiors he had met with Gilligan but denied he made the statements Gilligan attributed to his source.

In a July 9th press conference, the MoD confirmed that Dr. Kelly was Gilligan's source. Kelly was hauled before the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee for a grilling but convinced committee members he had not provided statements ascribed to him by Gilligan. The committee chairman, MP Donald Anderson wrote a letter to Secretary of State Jack Straw confirming the committee's judgment and adding their view that, "Dr. Kelly had been poorly treated by his government..."

Kelly told his wife he felt he had been betrayed. We did not understand the depth and duplicitous nature of that betrayal until further reviewing testimony at the Hutton inquiry, particularly that of Richard Hatfield, Director of MoD Personnel.

Hatfield had no personnel management experience when he was appointed to that job in June of 2001. He had been Policy Director of MoD and a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee. On July 7th Hatfield met with Kelly to review (and get Kelly's approval) of a clarification the MoD intended to issue to clarify inaccurate information in Gilligan's report without naming Kelly. What Hatfield knew, but did not tell Kelly, was that MoD intended to confirm Kelly's name as the source to the press if any reporter mentioned his name after the charade of a "Q & A" session designed to lead to Kelly.

When Kelly learned of this deception it must have infuriated him. Indeed, if it had been Hatfield's body that was "found dead in the woods" Dr. Kelly might have been a prime suspect in the death.

Another BBC reporter, Susan Watts, claimed on the evening program Newsnight, that Kelly made statements to her indicating he had lied to the MoD about statements he made to reporters. Later, after Kelly's death, Watts had to back off from that allegation when the inquiry reviewed transcripts of a taped conversation Watts had with Kelly (without Kelly knowing it was being taped) and hearing an enhanced version of the tape recording.

However, in the interim the media, led by Tom Mangold, who claimed to be "Kelly's best friend" and until very recently was himself a BBC reporter, claimed Kelly was so shamed by being branded a liar that he killed himself.

However, that was belied by Kelly's actions and communications right up to the morning of the day he disappeared (July 17th). He did not at all appear to be depressed and was looking forward to returning to Iraq to continue the search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

However, he did communicate in an e-mail the day before his death that there were "many dark actors playing games." Ironically, that e-mail was to Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter and CFR stalwart who probably was one of those dark actors. Miller, along with two other women was a close confidante of Kelly's. The second was Olivia Bosch, a long-time functionary of the CFR's sister organization in the U.K. the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA). The third was a U.S. Army intelligence agent named Mai Pederson.

In part two of the article, we suggested that Kelly's mistreatment by MoD had made him a resentful employee and, with all his dangerous knowledge, a prime candidate for elimination.

However, information new to this writer since that article provides a much stronger motive for the assassination of Dr. Kelly.

For several months, Kelly had been communicating with Victoria Roddam, a commissioning editor for Oneworld Publications based in Oxford. One week before Kelly's death, she had sent him an e-mail that said in part, "I think the time is ripe now more than ever for a title which addresses the relationship between government, policy and war-I'm sure you would agree." They had been discussing Kelly authoring a book to be published by Victoria's company.

Another document found among Kelly's effects at his home and removed by police was an undated hand-written note from Roddam with a list of suggested topics to be included in the book, any one of which would have sent the elite in several countries into a containment mode.

One such topic was the ethics of biological warfare, a sticking point that could be responsible for a string of deaths of world-class microbiologists in various countries.

A second one was the involvement of corporations in biological warfare.

A third was the role of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries in biowarfare as well as prevention and containment.

Yet another was the connection between Russia and Iraq with WMD.

Victoria had also listed a look at the proliferation in the arms trade as well a look into the Royal United Services Institute-Whitehall.

Finally, in the document there was a cryptic one-line reference to the rules of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA).

Recall Kelly was a neophyte member of the RIIA and likely would not have known what rules, if any, the organization had on members authoring books on sensitive subjects. He probably would have inquired disclosing his intentions. He also may have discussed it with his fellow member and confidante, Olivia Bosch.

It would have been in character for him to discuss the project with Judith Miller and perhaps seek her advice as she had authored several books on topic. He may even have discussed it with his spiritual advisor Mai Pederson.

At any rate, Kelly's and Victoria's project was no longer a secret (if it ever was). And now David Kelly has joined the growing list of world-class microbiologists who have met mysterious deaths and/or been murdered.

DAVID KELLY AND VICTORIA'S SECRET

Some more Miller dots that may connect

Some more Miller dots that may connect (none / 0)

See this collection of articles posted on Global Research regarding Operation Rockingham- the British version of Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans.

The day before he died- July 16th, 2003- David Kelly testified before parliament that he liased with the Rockingham cell- a misinformation organization charged with promoting reasons to attack Iraq and overthrow Saddam.

Dr. David Kelly was an international expert on WMDs, biological weapons and had been preparing to return to Iraq. A British reporter, Andrew Gilligan, testified on July 9th that David Kelly was the source of his leak that the British were "sexing up" the information on Iraq's capabilities to manufacture and deliver nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction.This was just 3 days after the revelation by Wilson. Kelly was hauled before the Joint Intelligence Committee members of MoD and intimidated. The foregone conclusion was the Kelly felt so betrayed and humiliated that he killed himself. Evidence never corroborated the official cause of death.

According to author Jim Rarey here

Judith Miller was in frequent contact with David Kelly and had been in communication with him on the eve of his death. Kelly wrote to Miller about his testimony before parliament and made the now-famous line about "dark actors playing games". Rarey concludes that Miller was one of those "dark actors". Miller and two other women were close confidantes of Kelly's. One was Olivia Bosch and the third was U.S. army intelligence agent named Mai Pederson.

Miller has ties to the Council on Foreign Relations, Bosch ties to the U.K. sister organization of the CFR- Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA.)

Daily Kos :: Comments UPDATE: Judith Miller's Sources: The Usual Suspects

Daily Kos: What's Wrong With the Economy?

Jobless Recovery with loss of 3.4 million high-paying jobs between 2000-2003 (Bush put a "Enron style" stop in the statistics after 2003)

What's Wrong With the Economy?
by bonddad
Sat Jul 30th, 2005 at 11:15:32 CDT

Cross-Posted at My Left Wing

On one hand, the US economy's overall statistics are great. GDP has grown over 3% for the last 8 quarters. Unemployment stands at 5%. Inflation is contained. The economy seems to have adjusted to oil's price increases. The recent earnings season has been a roaring success, with most companies in the S & P 500 meeting or beating expectations. In short, things look good.

However, something is restraining the financial markets. While the overall charts aren't bad, they aren't good either. Instead of strong uptrending patterns and movement, there is almost an almost daily fight with the bulls winning - barely. Instead of long candles, the charts are full of up 20 one day, down 12 the next candle patterns. Clearly there is some reservation on behalf of traders. So, what gives?

* bonddad's diary :: ::
*

There are two overall macro reasons. First is oil, which is the source of energy for the economy, is rising. It currently trades in a 57-62 range. In his recent Congressional testimony, Greenspan noted the economy so far has accepted this increase well. The problem is the at some point, the economy may have problems absorbing these costs. We know this point exists; we just don't know where.

Secondly, interest rates are rising. There is an old Wall Street adage: Don't fight the Fed. Buy stocks when interest rates are decreasing and sell them when interest rates are increasing. The cost of money dictates business behavior. This rule has been around for ages and still holds today.

However, these two trends do not explain the whole picture. The US economy is experiencing a fundamental shift in employment not captured by a single statistic, but which is evident from a reading of a group of statistics. Hence, it is beyond the realm of our 30-second sound bite news reporting or most "deny-side" economists. Thankfully, several adept researchers at several Federal Reserve banks have caught the change.

First, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US has lost 3.4 million high-paying jobs between 2000-2003 (the last year they have statistics). Comprising that total are:
100,000 Information and data processing jobs
200,000 Broadcast and telecommunications jobs,
205,000 Computer System Designer jobs,
2.8 million manufacturing jobs and
121,000 publishing jobs which include software.

The US economy has yet to create a sufficient number of jobs to replace those lost. While the unemployment number is 5%, this number does not capture the whole picture. The unemployment rate only counts people who have looked for work in the last 4 weeks. The number does not count disaffected workers and people who have given-up looking for a job. As a result, the labor participation rate - which measures the percentage of people employed out of the total labor force working - is still low. The labor force participation rate was 67.1% in January 2000. It currently stands at 66%.

Wage growth statistics solves this apparent contradiction in the employment numbers. If unemployment were as low as the unemployment numbers indicated, then wages would be increasing. This is simple supply and demand. Lower or constricted supply increases a commodity's price. However, wages are not growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average earnings increase from 2000-2004 was 3.86%, 3.22%, 3.12%, 1.71% and 2.39% respectively. However wages have to be compared to inflation to determine the real rate of wage growth. For the same years, annual inflation was 3.4%, 2.8%, 1.6%, 2.3% and 2.7% respectively. When inflation is subtracted from wages, overall wage growth becomes .46%, .42%, 1.52%, -.59% and-.31% respectively for 2000-2004. The fact that wages have not grown indicates the labor participation rate is the correct measure of employment.

Why this drop? Back in 2003, there were several people at the Federal Reserve who wrote and/or talked about the idea of a jobless recovery. Two people - Erica L. Groshen and Simon Potter wrote a paper called Has structural Change Contributed to a Jobless Recovery? This paper provides the missing pieces explaining the overall labor situation.

The paper's fundamental hypothesis is simple and derives from the basic concept of the business cycle. During a recession, companies lay-off workers. When the economy starts to expand, the business will hire workers to fill demand, but only if the industry is still economically viable. If however the industry is in overall decline, it won't hire workers, and instead continue to lay-off workers.

The report concludes that several industry's have experienced a net decline in employees during the 2001 recession and subsequent expansion. Some of these industries are electronic equipment, securities and commodities brokers, communications and air transportation and transportation services.

In summation, the US economy is in the process of restructuring. We don't know yet who the clear winners and losers are. There is no clear dynamic new industry emerging on the horizon. However, this gives the Democrats a great opportunity. We can offer ideas for creating the industries of the 21st century. Several examples would be alternate energy, stem cell research and applications and US infrastructure upgrades. However, he have to act and start to talk about these issues.

Daily Kos: What's Wrong With the Economy?

Daily Kos: Kossack got Help - Blog Power

Heartwarming story of blog power! Teenage daughter runs away from home. Father asks DailyKos posters for help. Fliers are printed and distributed across the town, police is "encouraged" to pay some attention to his case by hundreds of e-mails.. Girl is found and returned home thanks to a cop seeing a flier and recognizing her - law

Kossack got Help Update
by Krum
Sat Jul 30th, 2005 at 07:28:41 CDT

Thursday night at 10:30 pm I received a phone call from Lizzie's mother, Berta, who informed me that Lizzie had been found and is safe. She is currently staying at her stepfather's house in San Francisco. This evening I received an email from a police officer from San Rafael with whom I have been communicating regarding the case:

* Krum's diary :: ::
*

Mr. Oates, I returned to work today and found your e-mail. I assume you heard that Ofcr. ______ of our department located your daughter in the downtown area of our city last night. He recognized her from a flyer. She was subsequently returned to Berta. She was cited for running away from home. Although this is not a criminal violation, there are some consequences associated with it. Such as community service. Ofcr. _______

Wow! This just blew me away! The most awesome thing is that the Officer recognized Lizzie from a flyer that he had seen, a flyer that had to have been placed by a Kossack! I have to say that you have all really made a difference!

I felt a little embarrassed the other day that the story of my daughter's disappearance was receiving so much attention, but it also cemented the realization that there are a lot of good folks out there. I have to tell you that the responses, the advice, the offers of assistance, and the support that we received deeply touched everyone who knows and loves Lizzie.

I have been in touch with many of you offline, and am sorry that I haven't replied personally to everyone, but the response was overwhelming. There were so many warm sentiments, sensible suggestions, and offers of help, and it is just so wonderful to know that this effort makes a difference.

Like many of you I have grown cynical and a tad irritated over the cruel antics I have witnessed over past few years, and in many ways for this very reason I have somewhat lost touch with my own humanity. (isn't it ironic?) Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting windmills and I forget to nurture and listen to the very ones that I am committed to. When struggle produces only alienation and separation, something is out of balance. I yam that I yam, and I will continue to voice my opinions and fight for what I believe in, but not without considering first the effect that my actions have on those that I love. This week I feel that the circle of those that I love has widened immensely.

Daily Kos: Kossack got Help Update

Rigorous Intuition: The Fallujah Ghetto

Bush is not Hitler, and the United States is not Nazi Germany, so stop saying that.

I'm talking to you, Boston Globe:

Returning Fallujans will face clampdown

FALLUJAH, Iraq -- The US military is drawing up plans to keep insurgents from regaining control of this battle-scarred city, but returning residents may find that the measures make Fallujah look more like a police state than the democracy they have been promised.

Under the plans, troops would funnel Fallujans to so-called citizen processing centers on the outskirts of the city to compile a database of their identities through DNA testing and retina scans. Residents would receive badges displaying their home addresses that they must wear at all times. Buses would ferry them into the city, where cars, the deadliest tool of suicide bombers, would be banned.

...

One idea that has stirred debate among Marine officers would require all men to work, for pay, in military-style battalions. Depending on their skills, they would be assigned jobs in construction, waterworks, or rubble-clearing platoons.

...

[Lieutenant Colonel Dave Bellon, intelligence officer for the First Regimental Combat Team] asserted that previous attempts to win trust from Iraqis suspicious of US intentions had telegraphed weakness by asking, " 'What are your needs? What are your emotional needs?' All this Oprah [stuff]," he said. "They want to figure out who the dominant tribe is and say, 'I'm with you.' We need to be the benevolent, dominant tribe."

...

Most Fallujans have not heard about the US plans. But for some people in a city that has long opposed the occupation, any presence of the Americans, and the restrictions they bring, feels threatening.

"When the insurgents were here, we felt safe," said Ammar Ahmed, 19, a biology student at Anbar University. "At least I could move freely in the city; now I cannot."

And from a transcript of Tom Brokaw's final broadcast last week, this:

REPORTER: "So far the plan is for most of the city's 250,000 residents to return in stages and first only a few thousand will be let in. They'll be fingerprinted, given a retina scan and then an ID card, which will only allow them to travel around their homes or to nearby aid centers which are now being built. The Marines will be authorized to use deadly force against those breaking the rules....Tom?"

BROKAW: "Richard, what's the latest on the election?"

An audio clip of the above exchange can be heard here, courtesy of Alex Jones.

I've had my problems with Jones, largely down to his style, which could give paranoia a bad name. My all too Canadian reserve has found him clownish, and caused me to back away as though cornered by a loud-mouthed hysteric at an office party, who'd broken his promise to have just one. More seriously, I've thought Jones somewhat indiscriminate with his sources and the facts.

But damn, if he isn't right more often than not.

Rigorous Intuition: The Fallujah Ghetto

Greg Weiher: Fallujah and the Warsaw Ghetto

A woman who lived through it said “What we grieve for is not the loss of a grand vision, but rather the loss of common things, events and gestures . . . ordinariness is the most precious thing we struggle for . . . not noble causes or abstract theories. But the right to go on living with a sense of purpose and a sense of self worth . . . an ordinary life.”

What history is this? Is it the imagined history of Fallujah, one that will be spoken and ultimately written after the city is thoroughly scourged by the American Marines? There are similarities. There are the hospitals that have been closed or cut off by the Americans, the firing on ambulances, the difficulty of getting food and medicines, the senseless killing of innocents, the isolating of the outcasts behind barbed wire and a hail of bullets.

It could certainly be the history of the Intifadas in Israel for all of the same reasons, not to mention the tanks and invincible arms of the occupiers, the lop-sided casualty counts, the appropriation of property, and the obdurate futility of seeking an ordinary life in the West Bank and Gaza.

In fact, it is a description of the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto and the persecution of its occupants. What strikes me most about this description is exactly that it has so much in common with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and America’s treatment of the Iraqis.

The Israelis and the Americans ply their bright, polished justifications for grinding down those left vulnerable by history. America styles herself the City on the Hill, the indispensable nation. But there is nothing here that rises above clich�. Germany celebrated its future as the Thousand Year Reich, too. It boils down to nothing newer than armies marching across the corpses of hapless victims. It recalls nothing so strongly as Arendt’s “banality of evil.”

It is such a worn and tawdry story.

Greg Weiher: Fallujah and the Warsaw Ghetto

First Wind Farm in National Forest Planned

What a stupid idea! Why don't they put those towers in the town's parking lots!!! -- law

The evergreen trees of the Green Mountain National Forest in southern Vermont could soon be dwarfed by 370-foot-tall wind turbines. A company wants to build up to 30 of the turbines in the forest in what would be the first-ever wind power project on U.S. Forest Service land. The project would produce enough electricity to power 14,000 to 16,000 homes.

The Forest Service is expected to take up to 18 months to decide whether to approve the project by Deerfield Wind LLC.

Environmental groups have strongly opposed moves to open more federal lands to people who want to extract energy from them, whether oil, natural gas or coal. But wind energy, a relatively benign and pollution-free way to make electricity, is a different story.

"We're not against wind power. We think that renewable energy is a promising and useful thing," said Richard Andrews of the group Green Mountain Forest Watch. But he said his group has yet to take a position on the proposal.

There are other concerns, including whether the project will disrupt the habitat of black bears or migratory birds in the forest.

"The Forest Service doesn't have well developed protocols on wind power development," said Gina Owens, district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service

But she added that it is borrowing guidance from the Bureau of Land Management, which last month released a set of policies governing wind power development on its vast land holdings in the West.

In general, the BLM policy says wind power development is to be encouraged, and calls for changes designed to do so on parcels in nine western states.

AT&T Worldnet Service - U.S. National News - First Wind Farm in National Forest Planned