Internet Outage Around The World

January 31, 2008 at 9:42 am | Posted in American politics | 2 Comments

wow, this is pretty fascinating. Apparently a boat in the Mediterranean sliced some cable under the sea causing massive disruptions in the Middle East and Asia.

Now, I’m just curious, but, well, why would we set up half the world’s Internet on a wire that could be cut accidentally by a boat? That just don’t make no sense.

President Gordon B. Hinckley Has Passed Away

January 28, 2008 at 11:32 am | Posted in Church, Gordon Hinckley, Mormon | 1 Comment

Numerous others are making their comments known, and I wanted to share mine too. I appreciate all that President Hinckley has done for the church. His efforts at public relations have cast the church in a much fairer and kinder light. He has pressed for more moderation and more mainstream acceptability. He has done much to show the world that we are regular people, not fringe extremists. His efforts will never be forgotten, not his 60 some odd years of service in the church. Few can claim to have served in the church for such great lengths of time. He loved the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he did all in his power to share that love of the Gospel. He radically increased the number of temples, including the designs of smaller temples for quicker construction and more access to these eternal and sacred buildings.

Thank you President Hinckley. Rest now from all your labors.

Blair Wants Mideast Peace in 2008…

January 27, 2008 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Middle East, Tony Blair | Leave a comment

So he says at the World Economic Forum.

One has to wonder though, where was Blair pressing for Mideast peace in 2003?

Tear Down That Wall!

January 24, 2008 at 10:16 am | Posted in America, Israel | Leave a comment

(courtesy of Newsweek and Abid Katib / Getty Images)

I don’t think that Israel and America realize how badly they are losing the PR battle against the Palestinians and their allies. The more they squeeze Gaza, the more Israel and America lose. It’s a real damn shame, isn’t it?

George Bush and His Supporters Lied About Iraq

January 23, 2008 at 10:27 am | Posted in Bush Administration, Iraq | 1 Comment

and here is all the evidence. George Bush himself was the worst offender, lying 260 times. No surprise there. What is surprising is that the second worst offender was Colin Powell. Shame on you, Mr. Powell.

UPDATE: Mother Jones also has a good timeline detailing the lies.

The CIA Blames Al-Qaeda for Bhutto’s Assassination

January 18, 2008 at 10:16 am | Posted in CIA, corruption, Pakistan | Leave a comment

Because of course they can be trusted to be definitive. And of course, they have no bias, and are not protecting the Pakistani Intelligence Service (which is most likely the real culprit).

Many Pakistanis have voiced suspicions that Musharraf’s government played a role in Bhutto’s assassination, and Bhutto’s family has alleged a wide conspiracy involving government officials. Hayden declined to discuss the intelligence behind the CIA’s assessment, which is at odds with that view and supports Musharraf’s assertions.

Huh, one has to wonder why Mr. Hayden refuses to show the evidence…

“This was done by that network around Baitullah Mehsud. We have no reason to question that,” Hayden said.

Um…sorry Mr. Hayden, but you bet your CIA butt we do!

Curveball was the pseudonym given by the Central Intelligence Agency to Rafid Ahmed Alwan (Arabic: رافد أحمد علوان), an Iraqi citizen who defected from Iraq in 1999, claiming that he had worked as a chemical engineer at a plant that manufactured mobile biological weapon laboratories as part of an Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program.[1] Alwan’s allegations were subsequently shown to be false by the Iraq Survey Group’s final report published in 2004. Despite warnings from the German Federal Intelligence Service regarding the authenticity of the claims, the US Government utilized them to build a rationale for military action in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, including in the 2003 State of the Union address, where President Bush said “we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs”, and Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN Security Council, which contained a computer generated image of a mobile biological weapons laboratory.[2][1] On November 4, 2007, CBS 60 Minutes revealed Curveball’s real identity.[3] Former CIA official Tyler Drumheller summed up Curveball as “a guy trying to get his green card essentially, in Germany, and playing the system for what it was worth.”[1]

The CIA does not have the credibility to be given the benefit of the doubt anymore, Mr. Hayden. If you make a definitive accusation, you better have the evidence to back you up.

Back to the story…

Some administration officials outside the agency who deal with Pakistani issues were less conclusive, with one calling the assertion “a very good assumption.”

One of the officials said there was no “incontrovertible” evidence to prove or rebut the assessment.

So you’ve got analysts dissenting, yet the CIA’s director making definitive statements. We haven’t had that before, now have we? (“Slam dunk!” anyone?).

Hayden said that the United States has “not had a better partner in the war on terrorism than the Pakistanis.” The turmoil of the past few weeks has only deepened that cooperation, he said, by highlighting “what are now even more clearly mutual and common interests.”

I’m sure, and here is where the real answer lies. The CIA is protecting its “never-a-better-partner-in-the-war-on-terrorism” even though it is a complete failure of a partner.

The article ends with this:

Regarding the public controversy over the CIA’s harsh interrogation of detainees at secret prisons, Hayden reiterated previous agency statements that lives were saved and attacks were prevented as a result of those interrogations.

He said he does not support proposals, put forward by some lawmakers in recent weeks, to require the CIA to abide by the Army Field Manual in conducting interrogations. The manual, adopted by the Defense Department, prohibits the use of many aggressive methods, including a simulated-drowning technique known as waterboarding.

“I would offer my professional judgment that that will make us less capable in gaining the information we need,” he said.

Meaning quite clearly without stating it of course, that the CIA continues to torture its prisoners and will not change its tactics anytime soon, damn all Congressmen and critics, and damn the law!

The Incident in the Strait of Hormuz – A Planted Story

January 17, 2008 at 10:19 am | Posted in Iran, Military | Leave a comment

Is anyone really suprised?

Keep an Eye on This

January 16, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Bush Administration | Leave a comment

White House erased tapes it is required by law to keep preserved. Maybe this administration has broken so many laws and acted so much like an imperial presidency that we’ve become “past feeling” to all that comes out, but this is still reprehensible. And you can bet that this wasn’t some accident, but rather quite deliberate. I’m quite sure that the Bush administration never wants anyone to know what exactly they pondered in those early days of their administration, the disturbing avenues they considered.


Quote of the Day – General Schwarzkopf

January 16, 2008 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Iraq | Leave a comment

“I am certain that had we taken all of Iraq, we would have been like the dinosaur in the tar pit—we would still be there, and we, not the United Nations, would be bearing the costs of that occupation.”

As quoted in Thomas Ricks’ book, “Fiasco.”

Yesterday, we read:

The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq’s borders from external threat until at least 2018.

Those comments from the minister, Abdul Qadir, were among the most specific public projections of a timeline for the American commitment in Iraq by officials in either Washington or Baghdad. And they suggested a longer commitment than either government had previously indicated.

Pentagon officials expressed no surprise at Mr. Qadir’s projections, which were even less optimistic than those he made last year.

One wonders, if they were less optimistic than they were last year, just how this defense minister will feel in January 2009!

Blackwater Gassed American Military!

January 10, 2008 at 9:37 am | Posted in blackwater | 2 Comments

Boy, I wonder what else we will learn, what else will be disclosed. It seems in 2005, Blackwater released gas upon Iraqis and Americans, a chemical that the US military has very very strict rules on when it can be used.

The helicopter was hovering over a Baghdad checkpoint into the Green Zone, one typically crowded with cars, Iraqi civilians and United States military personnel.

Suddenly, on that May day in 2005, the copter dropped CS gas, a riot-control substance the American military in Iraq can use only under the strictest conditions and with the approval of top military commanders. An armored vehicle on the ground also released the gas, temporarily blinding drivers, passers-by and at least 10 American soldiers operating the checkpoint.

“This was decidedly uncool and very, very dangerous,” Capt. Kincy Clark of the Army, the senior officer at the scene, wrote later that day. “It’s not a good thing to cause soldiers who are standing guard against car bombs, snipers and suicide bombers to cover their faces, choke, cough and otherwise degrade our awareness.”

Blackwater is, of course, now trying to cover their asses:

Anne Tyrrell, a spokeswoman for Blackwater, said the CS gas had been released by mistake.

“Blackwater teams in the air and on the ground were preparing a secure route near a checkpoint to provide passage for a motorcade,” Ms. Tyrrell said in an e-mail message. “It seems a CS gas canister was mistaken for a smoke canister and released near an intersection and checkpoint.”

She said that the episode was reported to the United States Embassy in Baghdad, and that the embassy’s chief security officer and the Department of Defense conducted a full investigation. The troops exposed to the gas also said they reported it to their superiors. But military officials in Washington and Baghdad said they could not confirm that an investigation had been conducted. Officials at the State Department, which contracted with Blackwater to provide diplomatic security, also could not confirm that an investigation had taken place.

But as usual with such incidents, they were wrong. And of course, the State Department, under Condoleezza Rice didn’t ban chemical weapons for Blackwater security guards:

Blackwater says it was permitted to carry CS gas under its contract at the time with the State Department. According to a State Department official, the contract did not specifically authorize Blackwater personnel to carry or use CS, but it did not prohibit it.

They are also illegal:

The military, however, tightly controls use of riot control agents in war zones. They are banned by an international convention on chemical weapons endorsed by the United States, although a 1975 presidential order allows their use by the United States military in war zones under limited defensive circumstances and only with the approval of the president or a senior officer designated by the president.

And of course, like the murder of the 17 Iraqis last September, in this incident, there was no provocation:

Officers and soldiers who were hit by the CS gas, some of whom asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident, have described it with frustration. They said no weapons were being fired or any other violence that might have justified Blackwater’s response.

I’ll close with the testimonies of two military personnel who witnessed the incident.

In a personal journal posted online the day of the incident, Captain Clark provided a detailed description of what happened and included photos.

While standing at the checkpoint, he wrote, he saw a Blackwater helicopter overhead.

“We noticed that one of them was hovering right over the intersection in front of our checkpoint,” he wrote. “There was a small amount of white smoke coming up from the intersection. I grabbed my radio and asked one of the guard towers what the smoke was. He answered that it looked like one of the helicopters dropped a smoke grenade on the cars in the intersection. I asked him why were they doing that, was there something going on in the intersection that would cause them to do this. He said, nope, couldn’t see anything. Then I said, well what kind of smoke is it?

“Before he could say anything, I got my answer. My eyes started watering, my nose started burning and my face started to heat up. CS! I heard the lieutenant say, “Sir that’s not smoke, it’s CS gas.”

After reporting the incident to his superiors, Captain Clark wrote, a convoy that the helicopter was protecting showed up. Because the gas caused a “complete traffic jam in front of our checkpoint,” the captain wrote, “armored cars in the convoy made a U-turn — and threw another CS grenade.”

“It just seemed incredibly stupid,” he wrote. “The only thing we could figure out was for some reason, one of them figured that CS would somehow clear traffic. Why someone would think a substance that makes your eyes water, nose burn and face hurt would make a driver do anything other than stop is beyond me.”

Army Staff Sgt. Kenny Mattingly also was puzzled. “We saw the Little Bird (Blackwater helicopter) come and hover right in front of the gate, and I saw one of the guys dropping a canister,” Sergeant Mattingly said in an interview. “There was no reason for dropping the CS gas. We didn’t hear any gunfire or anything. There was no incident under way.”

Fox News Sucks!

January 7, 2008 at 11:33 pm | Posted in Foxnews | 29 Comments

Beautiful music to the ears

and more confrontations.

Heavenly, I tell you. So nice to see conservatives take on their own creation.

Refreshing and Sublime

January 4, 2008 at 1:57 pm | Posted in Barack Obama | Leave a comment

Inspiring and moving. Such a stark contrast to the ruling of Bush and Clinton over these past 28 years.

Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee Are Winning Iowa

January 3, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Barack Obama, Mike Huckabee | 5 Comments

It’s not looking good for the Washington Establishment candidates, and it is looking good for refreshing and new candidates.

Go Obama!!!

The RIAA Rules Your World

January 3, 2008 at 9:50 am | Posted in American politics | 1 Comment

and you thought you were a free man or woman.

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