Friday, June 29, 2007

Bush/Putin/Bush fish but nothing about North Pole?

From The Sacramento Bee:

Bush, Putin to share break from tensions
By DEB RIECHMANN - Associated Press Writer
Last Updated 12:08 pm PDT Friday, June 29, 2007

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine -- President Bush's summertime meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bush family's oceanfront estate is about lobsters, legacies and a break from increasing tensions.

Relations between Washington and Moscow are strong, but on the skids, and both Bush and Putin want to massage those relations before leaving office.

"It's not a secret the amount of disagreements is rising," Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, said Friday. "Sometimes it's inevitable. It's not a sign of profound crisis in our bilateral relationship."

Putin, bolstered by Russia's economic muscle and popularity at home, has adopted an assertive posture on the world stage. He has bluntly opposed a U.S. missile defense plan in Europe. Putin bristles when Bush scolds the Kremlin for rolling back democratic reforms and fends off what he sees as U.S. meddling in the affairs of ex-Soviet nations.

Bush, dogged by low poll ratings and rising anti-American sentiment around the world, is preoccupied with the war in Iraq, which Putin opposed. With waning U.S. leverage with Russia, Bush is hoping to tone down the rhetoric and find common ground on issues while dining on lobster, or reeling in a few fish.

It will have to be fast.

[click link below to continue reading]


Bush's dangerous religious beliefs....

From :

Bush, Mideast Wars and End-Time Prophecy
By JP Briggs II, Ph.D., and Thomas D. Williams
t r u t h o u t Special Report
Friday 29 June 2007

"Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the 'wall of separation between church and state,' therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society."- Former US President Thomas Jefferson

President George W. Bush has become dangerously steeped in ideas of Armageddon, the Apocalypse, an imminent war with Satanic forces in the Middle East, and an urgency to construct an American theocracy to fulfill God's end-of-days plan, according to close observers.

Historians and investigative journalists following the "end-time Christian" movement have grown alarmed at the impact it may be having on Bush's Middle East policies, including the current war in Iraq, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian crisis, the strife in Lebanon and the administration's repeated attempts to find a cause for war against Iran.

Many people are aware that Bush is "the most aggressively religious president in American History," as eminent historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. described him, (Schlesinger, "War and the Presidency," 143) but most remain without a clue to what this actually means.

[click link below to continue reading]


Bush's 105 recess appts to Dodd not Paris...

From American Progress:

Think Fast

"This year is on track to be the second warmest since records began in the 1860s and floods in Pakistan or a heatwave in Greece may herald worse disruptions in store from global warming."

105: Number of full-time positions President Bush has filled with recess appointments. In contrast, President Clinton had used his recess appointment powers to install just 42 people in full-time jobs at the same point in his presidency.

Just as violence in Afghanistan is "heating up" with "civilian casualties rapidly escalating, the health-care system is breaking down, according to Afghan and international medical experts." The International Committee of the Red Cross said it "faces a more restrictive environment than it has in two decades of work in Afghanistan."

Yesterday, ousted U.S. attorney John McKay spoke out about his regret for initially supporting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and telling "lawyer friends it was good news when Gonzales was confirmed": "I said, 'You're gonna like this guy -- he's humble, he's honest, he's hard-working, and he's smart. And he's proved me wrong.'"

The "largest Pentagon overseas construction project" is now at least $50 million over budget, and "pocked with vandalism and shoddy construction." Yesterday in a congressional hearing, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee sharply criticized the project, which has had "inadequate oversight from the military," and "demanded accountability from the Air Force."

"Five American soldiers were killed and seven wounded in a coordinated attack in southern Baghdad involving a roadside bomb and rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. military announced Friday."

And finally: During one response at last night's Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) ran over his allotted time. Cutting him off, debate host Tavis Smiley referenced CNN's recent decision to dump filmmaker Michael Moore in favor of a Paris Hilton interview, stating, "Senator Dodd, I was going to say, were you Paris Hilton you could have an hour, but you're not, so..."


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Surrounding nations get 200 mile limit from Putin...

From The Daily Mail via Raw :

Putin's Arctic invasion: Russia lays claim to the North Pole - and all its gas, oil, and diamonds.
Last updated at 00:37am on 29th June 2007

Comments (6)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making an astonishing bid to grab a vast chunk of the Arctic - so he can tap its vast potential oil, gas and mineral wealth.

His scientists claim an underwater ridge near the North Pole is really part of Russia's continental shelf.

One newspaper printed a map of the "new addition", a triangle five times the size of Britain with twice as much oil as Saudi Arabia.

[click link below to continue reading]


Mike Malloy of NovaM talk radio...Talks....

From a Buzzflash interview with Mike Malloy of NovaM Radio:

For example, this new guy that's the head of the World Bank, Robert B. Zoellick. How many people know that he was one of the signatories to this "Project for a New American Century" letter that went to Bill Clinton, demanding that he invade Iraq? Wolfowitz was involved in that, too. How many people remember that about Zoellick? Nobody.

[click link below to read entire interview]


9/11...and Cheney in action...

From Information Clearing House:

The Ignorance Of The Highly Educated Wealth, Empire And The Future Of America


Prof. Peter Dale Scott presents a condensed version of the two chapters from his forthcoming book, "The Road to 9/11", that deal with the actions of Dick Cheney on the morning of 9/11, and a host of troubling contradictions on that day, in lecture form.


No, says White House. Yes, says Conyers..Or else...

From :

Go to Original

Conyers Threatens Contempt Citation After White House Asserts Privilege
By Rachel Van Dongen
Roll Call
Thursday 28 June 2007

Setting up a battle royal between Congress and the White House, the Bush administration asserted executive privilege Thursday morning in denying requests from lawmakers for documents and testimony from former top White House officials related to the ongoing U.S. attorneys probe.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) immediately suggested that a contempt of Congress citation may be necessary.

"The President's response to our subpoena shows an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what is going on in their government," Conyers said.

"At this point, I see only one choice in moving forward, and that is to enforce the rule of law set forth in these subpoenas."

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called the move a "further shift by the Bush administration into Nixonian stonewalling."

"This White House cannot have it both ways. They cannot stonewall Congressional investigations by refusing to provide documents and witnesses, while claiming nothing improper occurred," he added.

"Increasingly, the president and vice president feel they are above the law - in America no one is above law."

Added Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has been leading the U.S. attorneys probe: "The president seems to be saying: 'How can I stonewall? Let me count the ways.'"

[click link below to continue reading]


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Al Qaeda running out of places to hide....

From Stratfor: Terrorism Intelligence Report:

Gunning for Al Qaeda Prime
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

Al Qaeda's media branch, As-Sahab, released a statement by Ayman al-Zawahiri to jihadist Internet forums June 25. In it, al Qaeda's deputy leader urges Muslims to support Palestinian militants by providing weapons and money, and by attacking U.S. and Israeli interests.

Although al-Zawahiri's message is interesting, especially the fact that he urges support for an organization he has criticized heavily in the past, perhaps most telling about the release is that it contains no new video footage of al-Zawahiri himself.

In the 25-minute statement, al-Zawahiri discusses the importance of al-Quds (Jerusalem) to Muslims, and urges Muslims to unite with the "mujahideen in Palestine" (Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, etc.). Al-Zawahiri also calls on Hamas to establish a government based on Islamic law in Gaza, noting that, "Taking over power is not a goal, but a means to implement God's word on earth."

The release begins with a snippet of an October 2001 video of al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, but the bulk of the release consists of a still photograph of al-Zawahiri placed over a thin banner containing a small photo of the al-Aqsa Mosque. The fact that al-Zawahiri chose this format rather than the more engaging and visually powerful video format suggests al Qaeda's apex leaders are feeling the heat of the campaign to locate and eliminate them. Although many people believe the al Qaeda leadership operates as it pleases along the Pakistani-Afghan border, evidence suggests otherwise.

Quantifying the Campaign

Last week's Terrorism Intelligence Report discussed the campaign conducted by the United States and its allies against al Qaeda's regional and local nodes. Though these efforts have been under way in many parts of the globe, the United States and its partners have been pursuing a concurrent campaign against al Qaeda's apex leadership, al Qaeda prime. Like the campaign against the regional nodes, the effort against the prime node employs all of the five prongs of the U.S. counterterrorism arsenal: military power, intelligence, economic sanctions, law enforcement operations and diplomacy.

The overall success of this campaign against al Qaeda prime has been hard to measure because there are few barometers for taking al Qaeda's pulse. By its nature it is a secretive and nebulous organization that, in order to survive, has taken great pains to obscure its operations -- especially since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 that flushed its leaders from their comfortable and well-appointed refuge inside the Taliban's Islamic republic.

While bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have escaped U.S.-led efforts to locate them, a large number of second-tier leaders and operatives have been captured or killed. This means the group's organizational chart has been altered dramatically below the top rung, making it difficult to determine the quality of the individuals who have been tapped to fill in the gaps.

Publicly, al Qaeda has appointed Azzam the American as a major spokesman. If the prime node has been forced to promote others of his caliber to operational leadership positions, the group could be in big trouble. However, with so many unknown players filling critical positions, it is difficult to determine precisely how much the attrition has affected the prime node's ability to plan and execute attacks. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that their operational ability has been diminished. The group has not launched an attack using an al Qaeda "all-star team" since 9/11.

Meanwhile, outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, the attacks conducted by its regional nodes, or by regional nodes working with operational commanders sent from al Qaeda prime, have decreased in frequency and impact over the past several months. The first six months of 2007 have been quieter than the first six months of 2006 and far more peaceful that the last six months of 2005. And, not to downplay the loss of life in London, Madrid, Bali and other places, but in terms of numbers, the death tolls and financial impacts of all those attacks do not hold a candle to the 9/11 attacks -- even when many of them are combined.

Beyond the personnel losses al Qaeda has suffered, the loss of its dedicated training facilities in Afghanistan also has changed the way the prime node works. It is less autonomous and far more dependent on the largesse of Pakistani and Afghan feudal lords who control training camps along the border -- and who are key to the security of al Qaeda prime.

However, it is still difficult to pinpoint the impact this has had on al Qaeda's ability to operate.Occasional glimpses into the organization made possible by intelligence efforts, however, have provided some information as to its health. For example, the seized July 2005 letter from al-Zawahiri to then-al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in which al-Zawahiri asks for financial assistance, demonstrates that al Qaeda's prime node was hurting for cash at the time.

This state of affairs, a key objective of U.S. economic sanctions, likely was exacerbated by the Saudi government's action against al Qaeda supporters inside the kingdom, action prompted by attacks by al Qaeda's Saudi node. Another way to gauge the health of the organization, or at least the comfort level of the group's apex leadership, is by looking at its public relations efforts and the statements it releases to the public. Al Qaeda prime has produced a steady supply of messages in order to keep local nodes -- and perhaps more important, grassroots jihadists around the world -- motivated. These releases, however, reveal a change over the last several months in the way al Qaeda communicates to the world.

As the numbers in the chart illustrate, the number of messages from al Qaeda's two top leaders has fallen, while the use of video has dropped dramatically. Before the October 2006 missile attack in Chingai, Pakistan, 14 out of 15 messages were released in video format; since then, only three of the nine have included video. The switch to an audio format indicates concern about operational security.

It also is noteworthy that bin Laden has not been heard from in any format, audio or video, since July 1, 2006 -- nearly a year now. All these factors considered, it is apparent that the apex leadership feels threatened.

The Campaign on the Border

Al Qaeda leaders hiding along the Afghan-Pakistani border have good reason to be cautious. On June 19, an explosion killed at least 32 militants in Pakistan's mountainous Datta Khel district. Pakistani intelligence officials said 10 to 15 Arab and Turkmen militants were among the dead. According to sources, Abu Laith al-Libi, al Qaeda field commander in Afghanistan, was the target. DNA tests reportedly are being performed on the victims' remains in an effort to determine whether al-Libi is among them. If in fact he was killed in the strike, history suggests al Qaeda will release a statement confirming the death between June 29 and July 6.

The Datta Khel strike highlights the gravity of the threat faced by al Qaeda leaders hiding out in the area along the border for the past several years.

Other notable strikes include: Jan. 16, 2007: Pakistani Army Aviation units launch a predawn airstrike against a suspected militant camp near Zamzola in Pakistan's South Waziristan, killing 25 to 30 militants, including eight to 10 foreigners.

Oct. 30, 2006: A missile strike against an Islamic school in Chingai, Pakistan, near the Afghan border, levels the building and kills at least 80 people. Sources say al-Zawahiri was the target.

Jan. 13, 2006: A hellfire missile hits a home in Damadola, Pakistan, killing 18 people, including four senior al Qaeda operatives. The attack's intended target, al-Zawahiri, is not present.

Dec. 4, 2005: Pakistani authorities say Hamza Rabia, reportedly al Qaeda's director of operations, is killed when a hellfire missile fired from a predator drone strikes a house in Haisori,
North Waziristan.

May 7, 2005: Haitham al-Yemeni, an al Qaeda operative who reportedly replaced Abu Farj al-Libi in al Qaeda's hierarchy after al-Libi's May 2, 2005, capture, is killed in a hellfire missile attack in North Waziristan.

While not in the same region, al Qaeda's then-military chief Mohammed Atef also was killed in a hellfire missile strike by a CIA predator drone in eastern Afghanistan in November 2001.

Predator drones cannot be seen or heard by those on the ground. This means that a target's first indication that he is being attacked is the arrival of one or more supersonic, highly accurate and very destructive hellfire missiles. To those being targeted, the psychological impact of a weapon that can kill without warning is intense.

The Safe Bet

Shortly after the Chingai strike we noted a difference between al-Zawahiri's reaction to that strike and the Damadola strike. At the time, we said the Chingai strike hit very close to home, sent shockwaves through al Qaeda's operational security system and likely forced al-Zawahiri to go deeper underground. The numbers above appear to confirm that analysis. We also speculated that the Damadola and Chingai strikes damaged As-Sahab's capabilities.

One of those killed in the Damadola strike, Abdul al-Maghribi, not only was al-Zawahiri's son-in-law, but also a senior As-Sahab manager. Despite these strikes, however, As-Sahab has released at least 13 video statements by al Qaeda leaders since the Chingai attack. Only three of these videos featured al-Zawahiri; the other 10 featured al Qaeda spokesmen such as Abu Yahya al-Libi, Azzam the American and the now possibly deceased Abu Laith al-Libi. As-Sahab also has released several other videos showing operations under way against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Regardless of these videos from Afghanistan, things have not been going well for the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies recently. Their much-touted spring offensive has largely fizzled and they have suffered many casualties on the battlefield against NATO forces in the south (the Canadians appear to have completed their learning curve). The loss of charismatic, experienced battlefield commander Mullah Dadullah also will have an impact.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have broken from traditional insurgent tactics with such things as suicide bombings, roadside bombings and attacks with vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. This deviation suggests desperation on their part -- which also would increase al Qaeda's angst.

Given that As-Sahab continues to release several videos each month, the lack of appearances by al-Zawahiri, and even bin Laden, is not the result of some scarcity of camera gear or video technicians. Indeed, there must be some other compelling reason for them to change their behavior -- and fear that the forces hunting them are drawing close is a safe bet.


Patience required: Books and Films on the way....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Gil Adamson's THE OUTLANDER, in which a mysterious, desperate young woman flees alone across the western wilderness, one quick step ahead of her pursuers, to Daniel Halpern at Ecco, in a very nice deal, by Sarah MacLachlan at House of Anansi Press (US).


Leif GW Persson's The Fall of the Welfare State Trilogy: BETWEEN SUMMER'S LONGING AND WINTER'S COLD, ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER LIFE and FALLING FREELY, AS IF IN A DREAM, telling what could very well be the truth about the biggest unsolved crime in modern European history, to Carol Janeway at Knopf, by Niclas Salomonsson at Salomonssson Agency (NA).


Carolyn Turgeon's GODMOTHER, about Cinderella's fairy godmother and the secret she's hiding about the fateful night of the ball, which has cursed her to live out her days on earth as a human, to Lindsey Moore at Three Rivers Press, by Elaine Markson at Elaine Markson Agency.

Fadhil al-Azzawi's comic novel THE LAST OF THE ANGELS, following three different people living in the same small neighborhood in Kirkuk (the author's birth city) in the final years of Iraq's monarchy, to Amber Qureshi at Free Press, by Jessica Papin at American University in Cairo Press.

Sarah Wendell and Lay-Ping "Candy" Tan's SMART BITCHES WHO LOVE TRASHY BOOKS, based on the popular blog, a funny, somewhat bitchy and adoring look at the world of romance novels, from the authors to the covers to the conferences to the audience, to Sulay Hernandez at Touchstone Fireside for Fireside, in a nice deal, by Daniel Lazar at Writers House (NA).


David Morrell's THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE, to Warner Bros., by Richard Green at CAA, on behalf of Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.David Morrell's

ASSUMED IDENTITY, to United Artists, by Richard Green at CAA, on behalf of Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

Film rights to P.B. Kerr's CHILDREN OF THE LAMP series, to DreamWorks, with Nina Jacobson producing

ABC chief White House correspondent Martha Raddatz's THE LONG ROAD HOME, centering on the deadly 2004 ambush against the 1st Cavalry Division in Sadr City, Iraq; and the painful vigil kept by their families back home in Fort Hood, Texas as the battle raged over 48 hours, to Mike Medavoy at Phoenix Pictures (Zodiac, Holes), by Hotchkiss and Associates, on behalf of the Gail Ross Literary Agency.


Charles R. Morris's THE COMING CRASH, explaining how the 25-year conservative, free-market-as-god cycle is about to come crashing down -- and explores the broader implications for a complete economic restructuring of the country, to Peter Osnos at Lindsay Jones at Public Affairs, by Timothy Seldes at Russell & Volkening.


Food Network host George Duran's first two books, about making food fun again and with an emphasis on comfort food, to Linda Cunningham at Meredith, by Eric Lupfer and Lisa Grubka of the William Morris Agency (NA).


Former finance minister of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart's THE FRAMEWORK: Fixing Failed States, utilizing stories from their own experiences in failed states to explain why existing policies don't work and present a practical framework for tackling the problem of failed states, to David McBride at Oxford University Press, in a nice deal, by Tina Bennett at Janklow & Nesbit (World).

Robert Patton's LURID SPLENDOR: American Journalists and the "Little Wars" in Europe Between 1867-1887, recounting the stories of the often forgotten bloody battles fought in Europe near the turn of the century while America was in the midst of Reconstruction, portraying the reporters who covered these wars -- from the original Forbes (a Scottish journalist) to Florence Nightingale's work in the Crimea -- and concluding with Europe's entry into the Belle Epoque as we were preparing for the Spanish-American War, again to Vicky Wilson at Pantheon, for publication in spring 2009, by Harvey Klinger at Harvey Klinger (NA).


WNBA star and three-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie's inspiring autobiography DON'T LET THE LIPSTICK FOOL YOU, an uplifting memoir profiling the author's personal and professional life, to Selena James at Dafina, with Rakia Clark editing, in a pre-empt, for publication in May 2008, by Frank R. Scatoni at Venture Literary (NA)

Claire Lewis's EXPOSED: Confessions of a Wedding Photographer, the humorous, outrageous, yet touching memoir about this tension-fraught ritual, to Toni Plummer at Thomas Dunne Books, by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger (NA).

Angela Balcita's MOONFACE, based on the author's recent Modern Love column, about finding herself in a body not truly her own, marrying the man who gave her his kidney, and learning how the intersection of science, faith and humor impacts how we deal with life challenges, to Rakesh Satyal at Harper Perrenial, by Daniel Lazar at Writers House (world English).


Co-captains Andy Hillstrand and Johnathan Hillstrand (featured on Discovery Channel's series Deadliest Catch) with Malcolm MacPherson's (Robert's Ridge) TIME BANDIT, chronicling the lives and adrenalin-laced adventures of these lifelong Bering Sea fishermen, a career considered one of the most dangerous in the world, to Will Murphy for publication by Ballantine in May 2008, by Alan Nevins and Mindy Stone at The Firm (world).

Author of Governor General's Award-winner THE GOLDEN SPRUCE, John Vaillant's TIGER HUNTING, about Siberian tigers, some men made desperate by the collapse of the Russian economy, and the terrifying encounters that result, to Andrew Miller at Knopf, by Stuart Krichevsky at the Stuart Krichevsky Agency (US).
Canadian rights to Louise Dennys at Knopf Canada; German rights to Karl Blessing Verlag, by Andrew Nurnberg at Andrew Nurnberg Associates on behalf of the Stuart Krichevsky Agency.


From WaPo on Cheney to Star Wars fan...

From American Progress:

Think Fast

In its forth and final installment on the influence and power of Dick Cheney, the Washington Post details the Vice President's quiet control over energy and environmental laws. Paul Hoffman, a Cheney appointee at the Interior Department, explained, "His genius is that he builds networks and puts the right people in the right places, and then trusts them to make well-informed decisions that comport with his overall vision."

The number of adults without health insurance jumped by 2 million from 2005 to 2006, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I would wish him well, and ask him to please bring the troops (in Iraq) home," said SiCKO filmmaker Michael Moore when asked what "one thing" he would like to say to President Bush.

"The United States has invested $19 billion to train and equip nearly 350,000 Iraqi soldiers and police since toppling Saddam Hussein, but the ability of those forces to provide security remains in doubt, according to the findings of a bipartisan congressional investigation to be released today."

500: Number of Christian families who have left the Dora district in Baghdad because of the "chaos." "The flight of Dora's Christians is an example of how the initial phase of the U.S. security crackdown here has failed to establish security and stop the sectarian 'cleansing' of Baghdad's neighborhoods."

Violence is surging against women in Afghanistan. While the "lives of Afghan women and girls have improved vastly since the 2001 fall of the Taliban...this month has seen a rising number of attempts to quash these advances with threats and violence."

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing yesterday examining the legal basis for holding detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, the lawyer who prevailed in his argument in Hamdan that President Bush's military commissions were unconstitutional, told the committee, "Guantanamo is Uncle Sam's recruiting poster of jihadist recruitment."

And finally: Former Sen. Dean Barkley (D-MN) is on the market for a mate. Barkley has a profile on, where he says that he is looking for a woman "younger than him, whose turn-ons would include 'brainiacs,' 'erotica,' and 'thunderstorms.'" He also admits, "I am a star trek nut along with star wars."


Marine gets killing vaccination..Experimental?

From :

Go to Original

Former Marine Claims Illness From Mystery Vaccine
Tuesday 08 May 2007

Military source believes experimental shots may have been given.

Clermont County, Ohio - Target 5 has discovered that an alarming number of U.S. troops are having severe reactions to some of the vaccines they receive in preparation for going overseas.

"This is the worst cover-up in the history of the military," said an unidentified military health officer who fears for his job.

A shot from a syringe is leaving some U.S. servicemen and women on the brink of death.

"When the issue, I believe, of the use of the vaccine comes out, I believe it will make the Walter Reed scandal pale in comparison," said the health officer.

Lance Corporal David Fey, 20, has dialysis three days a week. His kidneys are failing, his military career is over, and he feels like his country abandoned him.

"I can't look at my old pictures. I really can't," said Fey. "I start looking at my old pictures, and I start crying."

[click link below to continue reading]


Bit more on Rove, Cooper and Plame....

From Publishers Lunch:

More on Pearlstine's Choice

The LAT has a fuller account of former Time Inc. editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine's new book than yesterday's Radar piece.

Tim Rutten writes that "Pearlstine's rationale for this decision [to turn over Matt Cooper's notes to Plame prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald], which he forthrightly admits was rejected by nearly all his journalistic colleagues, turns on a couple of very finely argued distinctions.

" Primarily, Pearlstine cites a "big difference between anonymous sources, whose identity we would pledge to keep out of our publications, and confidential sources, whose identity we would protect in the face of court orders and contempt citations.... Rove wasn't a confidential source because he hadn't asked to be one."

"Rutten calls it "a terrifically candid and genuinely fascinating book by a shrewd and vastly experienced journalist," but "at the end of the day, self-justification is the most deeply felt impulse in Pearlstine's account."



Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Scientists exposed non-exec branch Cheney...

From Secrecy News:


The arcane details of national security classification policy became the stuff of late night comedy as White House officials struggled to justify the peculiar refusal of Vice President Dick Cheney to comply with the oversight requirements established by President Bush's executive order on classification.

For two successive days, the White House press briefing was dominated by incredulous reporters who wondered how the Vice President could claim that he both was and was not part of the executive branch; why he complied with oversight reporting requirements in 2001 and 2002, and why he then ceased to comply; and how the Vice President's behavior can be consistent with the executive order when the Administration's own Information Security Oversight Office says that it is not.

"I'm not a legal scholar," said an exasperated Dana Perino, the White House spokeswoman. "I'm not opining on his argument that his office is making."

The story became certifiably big news last night when it was the subject of a five minute satirical segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (where I had a microsecond cameo). See "Non-ExecutiveDecision," June 25, 2007, under "most recent videos":

The Justice Department had said that the classification policy dispute was "under review" since Information Security Oversight Office directorJ. William Leonard asked the Attorney General in January 2007 to resolve the matter. But in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Justice Department revealed that no documents whatsoever had been generated by the purported review.

See "A New Cheney-Gonzales Mystery" by Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, July2:

Congressional leaders are stirring the pot, warning that the Office of Vice President could suffer budget penalties if it does not comply with routine oversight procedures. See "Secrecy May Cost Cheney, Dems Warn" by Elana Schor and Mike Soraghan, The Hill, June 26:

To recap: The internal executive branch conflict over the Vice President's non-compliance with the executive order was triggered by a formal complaint filed with the Information Security Oversight Office in May 2006 by the Federation of American Scientists (following a report in the Chicago Tribune by Mike Silva).

The FAS complaint was accepted by ISOO Director William Leonard, and was forwarded to the Attorney General in January with his request for an official interpretation of the executive order. There the matter lay for five months until Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, raised the issue to stratospheric heights last week with a letter to the Vice President questioning his Office's conduct.

he Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio devoted an hour to the topic yesterday with Congressman Waxman, Peter Baker of the Washington Post, former Justice Department lawyer David Rivkin, and myself.

See"The Executive Branch and Classified Information," June 25:

The controversy is playing out against the backdrop of a massive four-part series in the Washington Post on Vice President Cheney's role and conduct written by Barton Gellman and Jo Becker. The story had been under development for many months and Ms. Becker has since left the Post to go work for the New York Times. In a weird and probably unprecedented coincidence, she had a byline in front page stories in both the Washington Post and the New York Times on June 25.


Mess up a voter...go directly to jail...

From :

Go to Original

House Bill Would Punish Voter Deception
By Jim Abrams
The Associated Press
Monday 25 June 2007

Washington - Those who knowingly convey false information with the intent to keep others from voting would face up to five years in prison under voter deception legislation that passed the House on Monday.

The legislation, passed by voice vote, was spearheaded by Democrats who cited alleged incidents during the 2006 elections of minorities, immigrants and other legal voters being misled about election dates, guided to the wrong polling sites or told they were ineligible to vote.

"This reform will put an end to campaign practices that disenfranchise thousands of American voters and will give citizens the right to cast a ballot free from intimidation and misinformation," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., a chief sponsor of the bill.

[click link below to continue reading]


Mitt Romney is a Chinese food...

From The Sacrament Bee:

Candidates' names are tough in Chinese
The Associated Press
Last Updated 7:45 am PDT Tuesday, June 26, 2007

BOSTON -- Mitt Romney's been called many things as he runs for president, but chances are "Sticky Rice" isn't one of them.

That's how his name might be read on some ballots, according to state Secretary William Galvin.
Galvin says the federal Justice Department is pressuring Boston election officials to translate candidates' names into Chinese characters in precincts with prominent Chinese-speaking populations.

[click link below to continue reading]


Matt Cooper got Plame info straight from Rove....

From Publishers Lunch:

Pearlstine Blames Cooper and Others

Former Time executive Norman Pearlstine reportedly uses his book (publishing today) OFF THE RECORD to clear himself of responsibility in the Valerie Plame/Matt Cooper case, while "naming names, mouthing off about his enemies, and firing back at those who criticized his cooperation with federal prosecutors," Radar reports.

Reporter Matt Cooper "was less than perfectly discreet after he got Karl Rove on the phone on Friday, July 11, 2003, to talk about Plame," Pearlstine says. "More than two dozen Time Inc. employees ... had had access to e-mails in which Matt had named Rove as his source."

His criticism includes their attorney, Floyd Abrams--Cooper "was especially bothered that in meetings Abrams continually confused Libby and Rove."

[Note: Pub Lunch's hotlink doesn't work so I couldn't include it. In any case, Pearlstein's book hits the bookstores today]


Monday, June 25, 2007

Roveian in training...Jim Wilkerson...

Here's a suggestion: Get over to Digby's blog: and read her post on Jim Wilkerson...who he is, what he's done, and is doing.


Navy SEALs want men...Talk about a tough way to go...

Note: The SEALs don't have recruiters...they have motivators (see last line). Trust me, those SEAL Instructors could "motive" a rock. There have been classes of close to 100 men...and not one graduate. Just couldn't do it. Good thing for them that all they have to do to quit is to ring the bell (literally) three times, and they're on their way back to wherever they came from...usually, the regular Navy. More, nobody thinks badly of them. Actually, they're given great credit for even trying to make it through the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training course. It's that tough. Psychologists have gone to the base to study them, to try and discover just what type of man is going to be able to make it through BUD/S, all to no avail. As one of the SEAL Instructors told me...after he'd been an instructor for 10 years, "The mind rules the body." With them, it certainly does.

From The Virginian-Pilot:

Navy SEALs looking for new recruits
The Virginian-Pilot © June 25, 2007


Navy SEALs will conduct seminars for sailors about joining the special-warfare community from 9:30 to
11:30 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the waterfront athletic complex, building
Q-80, at Norfolk Naval Station.

The two-hour sessions will introduce sailors to the career opportunities for SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen.

Navy leadership has made recruiting SEALs its top priority because of heavy wartime deployments and a desire to increase the elite force.

The SEALs also will conduct a physical screening test for applicants Thursday. For more information, call SEAL motivator Mark Courrier at (757) 763-3005.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

So where are we getting our spies, our intel?

From The New York Times:

Op-Ed Contributor
Don’t Privatize Our Spies
Published: June 25, 2007

SHORTLY after 9/11, Senator Bob Graham, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for “a symbiotic relationship between the intelligence community and the private sector.” They say you should be careful what you wish for.

In the intervening years a huge espionage-industrial complex has developed, as government spymasters outsourced everything from designing surveillance technology to managing case officers overseas. Today less than half of the staff at the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington are actual government employees, The Los Angeles Times reports; at the C.I.A. station in Islamabad, Pakistan, contractors sometimes outnumber employees by three to one.

So just how much of the intelligence budget goes to private contracts? Because that budget is highly classified, and many intelligence contracts are allocated without oversight or competitive bidding, it seemed we would never know. Until last month, that is: a procurement executive from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence gave a PowerPoint presentation at a conference in Colorado and let slip a staggering statistic — private contracts now account for 70 percent of the intelligence budget.

[click link below to continue reading]


Hah! and Whoopee!!!...Sorry. Can't help it....

From Raw Story:

Firefighters high after pot goes up in smoke
June 22 2007 at 01:21AM

Edinburg - US authorities were trying to find out on Thursday who stored 907kg of marijuana in a warehouse that caught fire.

It took more than 35 firefighters about half an hour to extinguish Wednesday's blaze with 3 785 litres of water and 19 litres of chemical suppressant, Edinburg Fire Chief Shawn Snider said.

Snider said the firefighters were exposed to so much marijuana smoke they would not be able to pass a drug test, despite the air packs they wore to prevent them from inhaling toxic or hazardous fumes.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were called in to investigate the origin of the drugs, and the Hidalgo County fire marshal was investigating whether arson may have been the cause. - Sapa-AP


Smoker's Website: it is:

We're outnumbered, but that doesn't mean there aren't a bunch of us out there!


Maureen Dowd has had it with Cheney...

From NY Times via :

Go to Original

A Vice President Without Borders, Bordering on Lunacy
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times
Sunday 24 June 2007

It's hard to imagine how Dick Cheney could get more dastardly, unless J. K. Rowling has him knock off Harry Potter next month.

Harry's cloak of invisibility would be no match for Vice's culture of invisibility.

I've always thought Cheney was way out there - the most Voldemort-like official I've run across. But even in my harshest musings about the vice president, I never imagined that he would declare himself not only above the law, not only above the president, but actually his own dark planet - a separate entity from the White House.

I guess a man who can wait 14 hours before he lets it dribble out that he shot his friend in the face has no limit on what he thinks he can keep secret. Still, it's quite a leap to go from hiding in a secure, undisclosed location in the capital to hiding in a secure, undisclosed location in the Constitution.

Dr. No used to just blow off the public and Congress as he cooked up his shady schemes. Now, in a breathtaking act of arrant arrogance, he's blowing off his own administration.

[click link below to continue reading]


Saturday, June 23, 2007

On Mexico/US border...the lone Minuteman....

From the LA Times:

A watcher sees across the divide
By Christopher Goffard, Times Staff WriterJune 23, 2007

Minuteman without a country.
Campo, Calif.

HE senses them out there in the dark, making their moves, trying to outsmart him. He's planted on a hill in the cab of his mud-splattered, jacked-up truck, a greenish 1976 Silverado with roof-mounted motion sensors, holes in the floorboard and a "Don't Tread on Me" sticker in the window. From the cab, he studies the valley below with night-vision goggles, Ruger revolver strapped to his ribs.

"I own the night, brother," says Max Kennedy, a lanky, sunburned man with a scraggly goatee and a voice like a fistful of desert gravel. In his 53 years, he says, he has driven a cab in Miami and ferried fur coats in New York, peddled marijuana and jewelry, played bass in a punk bank and marched with 1960s radicals. He has been a Gingrich Republican and a pagan, a seeker of meaning in the Kaballah and the sayings of Chairman Mao.

In his latest incarnation, he's a Minuteman staking out a small stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in the beautiful, inhospitable mountains of southeast San Diego County. Untethered to job or family, he's one of three or four hard-core members who camp out here full time, trying to catch illegal immigrants as they cross.

But after 14 months living "in exile from the United States," he might be the most ambivalent of border warriors. His relations with other Minutemen are uneasy, his faith in the mission fraying, his sense of the migrants' desperation increasingly keen. Plus, the desert has its privations. He misses women and chicken cutlets and good conversation.

[click link below to continue reading],1,4441386.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=2&cset=true


Thursday, June 21, 2007

The sitting ducks....

[Note: I'm a solid Dem, but, as a long time smoker, I stand with these conservative Repubs on this one. I notice that drinkers aren't getting taxed for this cause, and they're a hell of a lot more dangerous to public health than any smoker ever was. I don't see drinkers forbidden to drink in bars, restaurants, beaches, parks or anywhere else people gather. I mean after all, how would the movers and shakers in DC and elsewhere function without their cocktail parties?]

From :

Conservative Republicans Oppose Cigarette Tax to Pay for Children's Healthcare

Many senators - including the GOP leader - anticipate bipartisan support for a proposed cigarette-tax hike to help pay for expanding children's health insurance coverage. But a small, yet potentially powerful, group of Republicans is vowing to fight any tax increase on principle.


NY Times Editor is NOT happy with Bush....

From New York Times:

Mr. Bush’s Stem Cell Diversion
Published: June 21, 2007

The executive order on stem cells issued by President Bush yesterday seeks to reorient research in new directions that may or may not pay off. But make no mistake, it is no substitute for the bill expanding embryonic stem cell research that Mr. Bush vetoed at the same time because it would involve the destruction of microscopic entities — smaller than the period at the end of this sentence — that the president deems a nascent form of life.

Both the Senate and the House, which passed the embryonic stem cell bill by comfortable but not veto-proof margins, need to summon the strength to override Mr. Bush’s veto, so that important research into possible cures for Parkinson’s, diabetes and other serious ailments can move ahead.

Mr. Bush knows that most Americans support embryonic stem cell research — while his political base does not — so yesterday he sought to at least blunt their dismay by touting new scientific studies focused on deriving potent stem cells from amniotic fluid, placentas and the skin of laboratory mice. Some of the alternative work is indeed promising. But almost all scientists in the field consider embryonic stem cell research the most promising. It is foolish to crimp that research by withholding federal funds to placate a minority of religious and social conservatives, including Mr. Bush, who deem the work unethical.

The president’s executive order directs the secretary of health and human services to support research on alternative sources of “pluripotent” stem cells that are capable of developing into many other kinds of cells needed for therapy. The department already supports a lot of such experiments — on so-called adult stem cells. It has now been ordered to also explore the potential of deriving embryonic stem cells without killing embryos — perhaps from embryos that are deemed dead or from specially created biological entities that are not full embryos.

The feasibility of deriving embryonic stem cells that way will need fuller discussion. Making the order even less persuasive, the White House did not request any additional funding to carry out the work, but will simply use existing budgets at the National Institutes of Health.

The bill vetoed by Mr. Bush would have provided more research opportunities: greatly expanding the number of traditional embryonic stem cell lines that can be used in federally financed research by tapping into the thousands of surplus embryos that would otherwise be discarded at fertility clinics. If Mr. Bush cannot see the sense in such an approach, members of Congress need to tell him that they — and the American people — do.

The Senate, which has the best shot at overriding the veto, will vote first, in hopes that a victory there will inspire the House to follow. Americans will need to keep a close eye on which legislators favor the most promising stem cell research and which try to impede scientific progress.


Stem cell veto to DOJ to Bush smartassing....

From American Progress:

President Bush will issue the third veto of his presidency today, killing a bill "that would have eased restraints on federally funded embryonic stem cell research -- work that supporters say holds promise for fighting disease."

"The Justice Department has opted out of at least 10 whistle-blower lawsuits alleging fraud and corruption in government reconstruction and security contracts in Iraq, and has spent years investigating additional fraud cases but has yet to try to recover any money."

"At least 40 percent of State Department diplomats who have served in danger zones suffer some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder," an American Foreign Service Association official told Congress yesterday. "The State Department has provided limited help for diplomats under duress," including dispatching just two psychiatrists to Iraq.

"Six detainees were transferred this week out of the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including one detainee who was returned to Tunisian authorities over the objections of his attorneys amid fears that he will be tortured by a government known for human rights violations."

Canon Electronics, Nike, and Unilever "topped a list rating climate-friendly companies" released yesterday, while Jones Apparel Group, CBS, Burger King, Darden Restaurants, Wendy's International and tied for last. Also, Google announced yesterday that it will be carbon neutral by 2008.

The ACLU "sued the U.S. government on Tuesday seeking to end what it said was a policy of drugging some immigrants facing deportation proceedings." The suit alleges that two immigrants were forcibly injected with "powerful psychotropic drugs" in violation of the law.

And finally: At yesterday's annual congressional picnic, "President Bush and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi were arm in arm," "Karl Rove worked the crowd," and "White House Press Secretary Tony Snow played the flute." "I thank Tony Snow and his bunch of mediocre musicians...uh, great musicians," said Bush, who enjoyed "the chance to zing his press secretary."


Cheney..I don't want to & you can't make me....

From Secrecy News:


The Office of Vice President Dick Cheney proposed to abolish the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), the executive branch organization that oversees the national security classification system, after its Director insisted that the Vice President comply with reporting requirements that apply to all executive branch entities.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee( who revealed the move today, said in a letter to the Vice President that it "could be construed as retaliation" againstISOO.

The proposed change in ISOO's status was ultimately rejected by an interagency review group which is considering revisions to the executive order on classification policy. The dispute between ISOO and the Office of the Vice President was prompted by a complaint filed with ISOO by the Federation of American Scientists in May 2006 (Secrecy News, 05/31/06).

The FAS complaint noted that the OVP had ceased to comply with its obligation to submit an annual report on classification and declassification activity, and asked the ISOO Director to enforce the requirement.

When the OVP continued to resist compliance, ISOO Director J. William Leonard formally asked the Attorney General in January 2007 to intervene and to render an interpretation of the executive that would resolve the dispute in one direction or another. A truncated copy of the ISOO letter to the Attorney General, with two attachments missing, was released by Rep. Waxman today. A complete copy of the January 9, 2007 letter is available here:

The Attorney General has not responded to the ISOO letter.


Damned fools! Even I knew fences are futile...

From :

Agents: Drug-Smuggling Ramp Found At Border
Officials Say Hundreds Of Pounds Of Pot Seized
POSTED: 7:40 pm PDT June 20, 2007
UPDATED: 8:00 am PDT June 21, 2007

SAN DIEGO -- Customs and border patrol agents announced the seizure of hundreds of pounds of pot Wednesday after discovering a drive-through ramp they say was being used to smuggle drugs across the border.

Images: Agents Find Drug-Smuggling Ramp At Border Video

Officials said agents from the San Diego sector's El Cajon Station confiscated a truck hauling 916 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle's cab and bed, as well as two ramps, two miles east of Campo.
The bust took place at 7:30 a.m. when officials said an agent spotted a suspicious 2006 Nissan Frontera driving westbound on state Route 94.

The agent followed the truck and the driver began driving erratically, making an abrupt U-turn and heading westbound on the 94, officials said.

The Nissan left the paved road and began driving southbound on a dirt road towards Mexico, according to officials.

When the agent arrived at the border, 20 people had crossed into the U.S. and put up welded metal ramps over the top of the border fence, customs officials said. Two people in the truck left the car and ran into Mexico, along with the 20 others that had gathered there, according to agents.

Officials said one person in the group pointed a handgun at the agent, but did not fire.

Other agents arrived at the scene and secured the site.

Upon inspecting the truck, agents said they found 60 packages of pot valued at $735,000, according to customs officials. The ramps were also seized.

The drugs were turned over to Operation Alliance for further investigation.

Copyright 2007 by All rights reserved.


Different Films and Books coming....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Peter Brett's THE PAINTED MAN and MIND DEMON, set on a world where people have ceded the night to demon-kind -- unless the Deliverer returns with ancient secrets to vanquish the demons, to Liz Scheier at Del Rey, in a very nice deal, in a three-book deal, by Joshua Bilmes at JABberwocky Literary Agency (NA).


Author of the NYT and USA Today bestselling THE BODYGUARDS series, Cindy Gerard's new BLACK OPS series, about a private contracting firm specializing in jobs even the military and the CIA won't touch, to Maggie Crawford at Pocket, in a three-book deal, by Maria Carvainis at Maria Carvainis Agency (World).


Author of forthcoming ALL SHALL BE WELL; AND ALL SHALL BE WELL; AND ALL MANNER OF THINGS SHALL BE WELL Tod Wodicka's THE HOUSEHOLD SPIRIT, sleep paralysis, the paranormal and the impossibility of returning home, again to Dan Frank and Lexy Bloom at Pantheon, by Zoe Pagnamenta at PFD New York, on behalf of Kevin Conroy Scott at AP Watt. UK rights to Dan Franklin at Jonathan Cape, by Kevin Conroy Scott.Translation:


A Brief History of Time author and Lucasian professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge Stephen Hawking and daughter novelist Lucy Hawking's GEORGE'S SECRET KEY TO THE UNIVERSE, with illustrator Garry Parsons, in which George befriends new neighbors and their super-computer, and he finds himself on a wildly fun adventure, while learning about physics, time, and the universe, to Simon & Schuster Children's, by Tif Loehnis and Eric Simonoff at the Janklow & Nesbit.


Sara Zarr's THE STORY OF A GIRL, about a teenage girl trying to live down her "school slut" reputation and repair her relationship with her family because, at the age of thirteen, her father caught her in the back seat of a Buick with a high school senior boy, optioned to Mixed Breed Films, with Kyra Sedgwick and Emily Lansbury producing, by Eddie Gamara at The Gotham Group, on behalf of Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management


Adrian Desmond and James Moore's DARWIN'S SACRED CAUSE, showing that the driving antagonism behind Darwin's theory of evolution was a hatred of slavery, to Amanda Cook at Houghton Mifflin, by Sarah Hunt Cooke at Penguin UK (US).


Former JP Morgan Chase equity analyst Anne Marie Fink's LESSONS FROM THE CEO'S BOSS: What Wall Street Knows that Top Managers Don't, capturing the (often counterintuitive) management wisdom of Wall Street's finest minds, in a pre-empt, to John Mahaney at Crown Business, by Scott Hoffman atFolio Literary Management.


Benson Bobrick's MINARET AND TOWER: THE SWEEP OF ISLAM AND ITS IMPACT ON THE WEST, a narrative history of Islam from its origins to its cultural and military heyday, to Bob Bender at Simon & Schuster, by Russell Galen at Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency (world).


SETI's senior scientist Dr. Seth Shostak's CONFESSIONS OF AN ALIEN HUNTER and THE IMMORTALS, to Lisa Thomas of National Geographic, by Carol Susan Roth at Carol Susan Roth Literary & Creative (World English).

Foreign rights:


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

BushCo & GOP making $$$$ from vultures....

From Greg Palast:

Randi Rhodes and Greg Palast Hunt Giuliani's Favorite Vulture
by Greg Palast
June 20, 2006

"Can't he make a living in a more reputable, less disgusting way, say, in child pornography?"Randi Rhodes is asking you, Mr. Singer. And we're still waiting for the answer.

[To hear the Palast/Rhodes report, click here.]

Paul Singer is a vulture. And a billionaire. And, with his underlings at Elliott Associates, the number one sugar-daddy donor to the presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani, dropping $168,400 so far and, according to secret campaign documents, committed to raise $10 million for Rudolf the Great, Emperor of 9/11.

So who is this bird of prey Singer who holds Rudy in his beak?

Unlike feathered predators, Singer preys on the living. Singer figured out a way to siphon off funds intended for debt relief to some of the poorest countries in the world. Nice guy.

And by the way, I didn't come up with the moniker "vulture." Just about everyone, from the new Prime Minister of Britain to the World Bank, calls Singer and his ilk "vultures." Here's how a vulture operation works. The vulture fund buys up the debt of poor nations cheaply when it is about to be written off and then sues for the full value of the debt plus interest -- sometimes more than ten times what they paid for it. Singer, for example, paid just $10 million for Congo Brazzaville's debt and is now suing for over $400 million.

Singer knew he'd turn a 1000%-plus profit on his $10 million investment with George Bush's help.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Help support the Palast Team's investigations, including their research on 'Vultures' by making a tax deductible donation to the Palast Investigative Fund today. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Bush convinced the US Congress to forgive the money Congo owes the US taxpayer, but once the US taxpayer forgives Congo's debt, the vulture, Singer, swoops in with lawyers to claim, "Congo now has the money to pay ME." But wait a minute - the debt money given up by US taxpayers wasn't supposed to go to Rudy's predator Singer. In fact, the US Constitution provides power to the President to stop vultures from suing a foreign country in a US court if the President states such a private lawsuit interferes with America's foreign policy. Singer, by suing Congo for the taxpayer money meant for debt relief and medicine, is interfering with US foreign policy. Yet Bush has done nothing.

While the President has made big speeches about debt relief for Africa and has even had his picture taken with a Bono, he won't get in the way of Singer's talons. One wonders if the President is influenced by Mr. Singer's strong support for debt relief, that is, debt relief for the Republican Party. The world's top vulture has become top donor to the GOP in New York.

Singer's not alone. He's joined in tearing at the flesh of the Congo's poor by a Washington operator named Michael Francis Sheehan. Sheehan is also known as "Goldfinger."

Besides joining Singer in attacking Congo, Goldfinger has also taken a piece of the debt relief earmarked for AIDS medicine for Zambia. Goldfinger paid $4 million for the right to collect on Zambia's debt - and just won $22 million from Zambia in a UK court, half that nation's debt relief. Goldfinger was able to seize that money because, he boasts in an email, he secretly paid $2 million to the "favorite charity" of Zambia's president. (That former President, Frederick Chiluba, is now under arrest for taking bribes ... but Goldfinger can still collect his pound of flesh.)

Want to hear more about Rudy's and George's favorite financial predators? About Chiluba's taste in shoes (he spent one million dollars in a single shop)? About Goldfinger and the man who hold the mortgage on President Giuliani? Go here and listen up: Greg Palast with Randi Rhodes - hunting the Vultures.


Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, ARMED MADHOUSE: From Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Palast and his team are investigating the 'Vultures' for BBC Television Newsnight.


Beyond the it yourself....

From Information Clearing House:


Secret collaboration...CIA, Isreal, Palastinian Authority...

From Information Clearing House:

The CIA - Fatah: Spies, Quislings and the Palestinian Authority
By Mike Whitney

When Hamas gunmen stormed the Fatah security compounds in Gaza last week they found huge supplies of American-made weaponry including 7,400 M-16 assault rifles, dozens of mounted machine guns, rocket launchers, 7 armored military jeeps, 800,000 rounds of bullets and 18 US-made armored personnel carriers. They also discovered something far more valuable--- CIA files which purportedly contain "information about the collaboration between Fatah and the Israeli and American security organizations.

[click link below to continue reading]


The Mask of Imperial Power is Dying
By Jim Kirwan
The charade is over in Palestine. The farce that tried to pass itself off as a pathway to peace has clearly ended. The 'West' led by Israel and the US has finally begun to show the world the duplicity of their joint criminality as that has most recently been underscored in "Gaza vs. The West Bank.

[click link below to continue reading]


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hamas, Fatah, Egypt....and Israel....

From Stratfor:

The Geopolitics of the Palestinians
By George Friedman

Last week, an important thing happened in the Middle East. Hamas, a radical Islamist political group, forcibly seized control of Gaza from rival Fatah, an essentially secular Palestinian group. The West Bank, meanwhile, remains more or less under the control of Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian National Authority in that region. Therefore, for the first time, the two distinct Palestinian territories -- the Gaza Strip and the West Bank -- no longer are under a single Palestinian authority.

Hamas has been increasing its influence among the Palestinians for years, and it got a major boost by winning the most recent election. It now has claimed exclusive control over Gaza, its historical stronghold and power base. It is not clear whether Hamas will try to take control of the West Bank as well, or whether it would succeed if it did make such a play. The West Bank is a different region with a very different dynamic. What is certain, for the moment at least, is that these regions are divided under two factions, and therefore have the potential to become two different Palestinian states. In a way, this makes more sense than the previous arrangement.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip are physically separated from one another by Israel. Travel from one part of the Palestinian territories to the other relies on Israel's willingness to permit it -- which is not always forthcoming. As a result, the Palestinian territories are divided into two areas that have limited contact.

The war between the Philistines and the Hebrews is described in the books of Samuel. The Philistines controlled the coastal lowlands of the Levant, the east coast of the Mediterranean. They had advanced technologies, such as the ability to smelt bronze, and they conducted international trade up and down the Levant and within the eastern Mediterranean. The Hebrews, unable to engage the Philistines in direct combat, retreated into the hills to the east of the coast, in Judea, the area now called the West Bank.

The Philistines were part of a geographical entity that ran from Gaza north to Turkey. The Hebrews were part of the interior that connected north to Syria, south into the Arabian deserts and east across the Jordan. The Philistines were unable to pursue the Hebrews in the interior, and the Hebrews -- until David -- were unable to dislodge the Philistines from the coast. Two distinct entities existed.

Today, Gaza is tied to the coastal system, which Israel and Lebanon now occupy. Gaza is the link between the Levantine coast and Egypt. The West Bank is not a coastal entity but a region whose ties are to the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan and Syria. The point is that Gaza and the West Bank are very distinct geographical entities that see the world in very different ways.

Gaza, its links to the north cut by the Israelis, historically has been oriented toward the Egyptians, who occupied the region until 1967. The Egyptians influenced the region by creating the Palestine Liberation Organization, while Egypt's dissident Muslim Brotherhood helped influence the creation of Hamas in 1987.

The West Bank, part of Jordan until 1967, is larger and more complex in its social organization, and it really represented the center of gravity of Palestinian nationalism under Fatah. Gaza and the West Bank were always separate entities, and the recent action by Hamas has driven home that point.

Hamas' victory in Gaza means much more to the Palestinians and Egyptians than it does to the Israelis -- at least in the shorter term. The fear in Israel now is that Gaza, under Hamas, will become more aggressive in carrying out terrorist attacks in Israel. Hamas certainly has an ideology that argues for this, and it is altogether possible that the group will become more antagonistic. However, it appears to us that Hamas already was capable of carrying out as many attacks as it wished before taking complete control. Moreover, by increasing attacks now, Hamas -- which always has been able to deny responsibility for these incidents -- would lose the element of deniability. Having taken control of Gaza, regardless of whether it carries out attacks, it would have failed to prevent them. Hamas' leadership is more vulnerable now than ever before.

Let's consider the strategic position of the Palestinians. Their primary weapon against Israel remains what it always has been: random attacks against civilian targets designed to destabilize Israel. The problem with this strategy is obvious. Using terrorism against Americans in Iraq is potentially effective as a strategy. If the Americans cannot stand the level of casualties being imposed, they have the option of leaving Iraq. Although leaving might pose serious problems to U.S. regional and global interests, it would not affect the continued existence of the United States. Therefore, the insurgents potentially could find a threshold that would force the United States to fold.

The Israelis cannot leave Israel. Assume for the moment that the Palestinians could impose 1,000 civilian casualties a year. There are about 5 million Jews in Israel. That would be about 0.02 percent casualties. The Israelis are not going to leave Israel at that casualty rate, or at a rate a thousand times greater. Unlike the Americans, for whom Iraq is a subsidiary interest, Israel is Israel's central interest. Israel is not going to capitulate to the Palestinians over terrorism attacks.

The Israelis could be convinced to make political concessions in shaping a Palestinian state. For example, they might concede more land or more autonomy in order to stop the attacks. That might have been attractive to Fatah, but Hamas explicitly rejects the existence of Israel and therefore gives the Israelis no reason to make concessions. That means that while attacks might be psychologically satisfying to Hamas, they would be substantially less effective than the attacks that were carried out while Fatah was driving the negotiations.

Bargaining with Hamas gets Israel nothing.

One of the uses of terrorism is to trigger an Israeli response, which in turn can be used to drive a wedge between Israel and the West. Fatah has been historically skillful at using the cycle of violence to its political advantage.

Hamas, however, is handicapped in two ways: First, its position on Israel is perceived as much less reasonable than Fatah's. Second, Hamas is increasingly being viewed as a jihadist movement, and, as such, its strength threatens European and U.S. interests. Although Israel does not want terrorist attacks, such attacks do not represent a threat to the survival of the state. To be cold-blooded, they are an irritant, not a strategic threat.

The only thing that could threaten the survival of Israel, apart from a nuclear barrage, would be a shift in position of neighboring states. Right now, Israel has peace treaties with both Egypt and Jordan, and an adequately working relationship with Syria. With Egypt and Jordan out of the game, Syria does not represent a threat. Israel is strategically secure.The single most important neighbor Israel has is Egypt. When energized, it is the center of gravity of the Arab world.

Under former President Gamal Abdul Nasser, Egypt drove Arab hostility to Israel. Once Anwar Sadat reversed Nasser's strategy on Israel, the Jewish state was basically secure. Other Arab nations could not threaten it unless Egypt was part of the equation. And for nearly 30 years, Egypt has not been part of the equation.

But if Egypt were to reverse its position, Israel would, over time, find itself much less comfortable. Though Saudi Arabia has recently overshadowed Egypt's role in the Arab world, the Egyptians can always opt back into a strong leadership position and use their strength to threaten Israel. This becomes especially important as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's health fails and questions are raised about whether his successors will be able to maintain control of the country while the Muslim Brotherhood spearheads a campaign to demand political reform.

As we have said, Gaza is part of the Mediterranean coastal system. Egypt controlled Gaza until 1967 and retained influence there afterward, but not in the West Bank. Hamas also was influenced by Egypt, but not by Mubarak's government. Hamas was an outgrowth of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which the Mubarak regime has done a fairly good job of containing, primarily through force. But there also is a significant paradox in Hamas' relations with Egypt. The Mubarak regime, particularly through its intelligence chief (and prospective Mubarak successor) Omar Suleiman, has good working relations with Hamas, despite being tough on the Muslim Brotherhood.This is the threat to Israel.

Hamas has ties to Egypt and resonates with Egyptians, as well as with Saudis. Its members are religious Sunnis. If the creation of an Islamist Palestinian state in Gaza succeeds, the most important blowback might be in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood -- which is currently lying very low -- could be rekindled. Mubarak is growing old, and he hopes to be succeeded by his son. The credibility of the regime is limited, to say the least.

Hamas is unlikely to take over the West Bank -- and, even if it did, it still would make no strategic difference. Increased terrorist attacks against Israel's population would achieve less than the attacks that occurred while Fatah was negotiating. They could happen, but they would lead nowhere. Hamas' long-term strategy -- indeed, the only hope of the Palestinians who not prepared to accept a compromise with Israel -- is for Egypt to change its tune toward Israel, which could very well involve energizing Islamist forces in Egypt and bringing about the fall of the Mubarak regime. That is the key to any solution for Hamas.

Although many are focusing on the rise of Iran's influence in Gaza, putting aside the rhetoric, Iran is a minor player in the Israeli-Palestinian equation. Even Syria, despite hosting Hamas' exiled leadership, carries little weight when it comes to posing a strategic threat to Israel. But Egypt carries enormous weight. If an Islamist rising occurred in Egypt and a regime was installed that could energize the Egyptian public against Israel, then that would reflect a strategic threat to the survival of the Israeli state. It would not be an immediate threat -- it would take a generation to turn Egypt into a military power -- but it would ultimately represent a threat.

Only a disciplined and hostile Egypt could serve as the cornerstone of an anti-Israel coalition. Hamas, by asserting itself in Gaza -- especially if it can resist the Israeli army -- could strike the chord in Egypt that Fatah has been unable to strike for almost 30 years. That is the importance of the creation of a separate Gaza entity; it complicates Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and probably makes them impossible. And this in and of itself works in Israel's favor, since it has no need to even entertain negotiations with the Palestinians as long as the Palestinians continue dividing themselves.

If Hamas were to make significant inroads in the West Bank, it would make things more difficult for Israel, as well as for Jordan. But with or without the West Bank, Hamas has the potential -- not the certainty, just the potential -- to reach west along the Mediterranean coast and influence events in Egypt. And that is the key for Hamas.

There are probably a dozen reasons why Hamas made the move it did, most of them trivial and limited to local problems. But the strategic consequence of an independent, Islamist Gaza is that it can act both as a symbol and as a catalyst for change in Egypt, something that was difficult as long as Hamas was entangled with the West Bank. This probably was not planned, but it is certainly the most important consequence -- intended or not -- of the Gaza affair.

Two things must be monitored: first, whether there is reconciliation between Gaza and the West Bank and, if so, on what sort of terms; second, what the Egyptian Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood do now that Hamas, their own creation, has taken control of Gaza, a region once controlled by the Egyptians. Egypt is the place to watch.

Contact Us
Analysis Comments:


Senator Barbara Boxer...Standing tall as always!

Email from Senator Barbara Boxer:

Thank you for writing to me about the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and General Peter Pace's discriminatory comments toward homosexuals. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

I strongly disagree with General Pace's comments. Despicable comments like those used by General Pace to characterize gays and lesbians have no place in our society. I strongly believe in equal rights for all Americans, including the right to serve in the armed forces. To date, thousands of homosexual men and women have served in the United States military. Their service should be honored, welcomed, and respected.

A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Martin Meehan that would repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and allow people to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation. I support this bill and hope to see this discriminatory policy overturned in the 110 th Congress.

Again, thank you for writing to m e about this important matter.
Please know that I will continue to work for full equality for all Americans both in military and civilian life.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Please visit my website at


From BushCo torture to a Wikopedia for Conservatives...

From American Progress:

Think Fast

"Eight months after President Bush signed a bill authorizing the CIA to resume using 'enhanced interrogation techniques' on terrorism suspects, the administration has been unable to agree on what constitutes 'humiliating and degrading treatment' of detainees."

Meanwhile, President Bush's nominee for CIA counsel John Rizzo -- who as acting CIA counsel approved the legality of the Bush administration's harsh interrogation tactics and "extraordinary rendition” program -- is expected to face "tough questioning" today in a Senate confirmation hearing.

Several conservative House members who last week "vociferously" (and falsely) attacked Rep. David Obey (D-WI) for weakening earmark disclosure rules have chosen to keep their lists of personal earmarks secret. They include House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Dan Burton (R-IN), Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC).

A truck bomb ripped through a Shiite mosque in central Baghdad today, killing 75 people and wounding more than 200. The thunderous explosion came after government officials on Sunday lifted a curfew aimed at preventing retaliatory violence after last week's bombing of a Shiite mosque in Samarra.

"Sunni families remaining in Shia neighbourhoods of Baghdad are being forced to flee their homes: A 72-hour deadline announced by militants for them to leave these areas or face death" expired yesterday. One aid official said, "Dozens of Sunnis have been assassinated in their homes" since last week's bombing of the Samara mosque.

"Wrangling between Bush administration aides and U.S. intelligence agencies is holding up talks with Moscow on future monitoring of the thousands of nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia still aim at one another."

The Bush administration is using a controversial new study estimating there are 4.9 million low-income children in the U.S. without health insurance -- fewer than other reports have indicated -- to argue that a congressional plans to increase federal funding for children’s health care is "unnecessary."

"U.S. commanders in Iraq are rejecting a recommendation by Army mental health experts that troops receive a one-month break for every three months in a combat zone, despite unprecedented levels of continuous fighting and worsening risks of mental stress."

And finally: A Wikipedia for conservatives. A conservative history teacher was appalled when he went to Wikipedia and found that golfer Zach Johnson's page had no reference to the fact that Johnson gave credit to Jesus Christ when he won the 2007 Masters. So the teacher began, "a conservative encyclopedia you can trust," whose entry on Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) says that she "may suffer from...clinical narcissism."


Military women raped? So what?...

From In These Times:

Features > June 14, 2007
Democrats Shy Away From Emergency Contraception
Did the Democrats leave military servicewomen without EC for political reasons?
By Beccah Golubock Watson

Plan B: Wouldn't it be nice if military servicewomen could have one?

On Wednesday, May 16, advocates were optimistic that legislation requiring emergency contraception to be stocked on all military bases would pass in the House. “We had the votes on Wednesday night. Things were looking good,” says Monica Castellanos, press secretary for Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine), one of the lead co-sponsors of the amendment that was scheduled for a vote the next day. But then, something mysterious happened.

For reasons that remain unclear, Michaud withdrew the legislation the next morning. According to Castellanos, it was purely a logistical snafu: “Key supporters had to be in their districts.”

But sources close to the issue tell a different story: The legislation, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, with bipartisan support, was dropped by a Democratic leadership unwilling to go to bat for pro-choice issues.

Despite Michaud’s confidence that the votes were there, Democratic leadership wasn’t so sure, and they didn’t want to hang around long enough to find out. The legislation might not have sunk, but they jumped ship anyway.

[click link below to continue reading]


Monday, June 18, 2007

Looking at Special Forces & Intelligence....

From Secrecy News:


The structure of Army special operations forces, their capabilities and characteristic mission profiles, and the role of intelligence in supporting them are described in a newly disclosed U.S. Army field manual.

There are nine distinct missions for Army special forces, including: unconventional warfare, direct action, counterproliferation, foreign internal defense, psychological operations, and "special activities,"which is the DoD euphemism for covert action.

"Special activities fall under Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities," according to the Army field manual. "They require a presidential finding and congressional oversight. ARSOF [ArmySpecial Operations Forces] conduct them abroad in support of national foreign policy objectives, but in a manner that USG [US Government] participation is neither apparent nor publicly acknowledged."

The 200-page Army field manual, which remains in effect, was issued in 2001. A copy of the unclassified document was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Army Special Operations Forces Intelligence," Field Manual FM3-05.102, July 2001:

The secrecy of DoD special operations has significantly impeded oversight and accountability, reported Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker this week. The Hersh article also said that the Bush Administration had "unilaterally determined after 9/11" that military intelligence operations could be conducted on presidential authority without congressional notification -- notwithstanding the contrary language of the Army field manual.

The "can do" attitude that characterizes Army and other special operations forces may make them attractive to policy makers, but it can also be a cause for concern, according to a congressional review of the failed Army Ranger mission in Somalia in 1993 (cited in a 2006 paper byDavid Tucker and Christopher J. Lamb of National Defense University).

"One of the weaknesses of a unit like Task Force Ranger, whose combat capabilities are unparalleled, is the belief by the unit members andits commanders that they can accomplish any mission."

"Because of the supreme confidence of special operations forces, the chain of command must provide more oversight to this type of unit than to conventional forces."

See "Review of the Circumstances Surrounding the Ranger Raid on October3-4, 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia," Senate Armed Services Committee, September 29, 1995: