« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 1, 2005

Saudi King Dies At 84

The Saudi king who both opened an era of closer relations with the US and lent legitimacy to the radical Islamists which target us died earler today. King Fahd had ruled in name only for the past decade after suffering a debilitating stroke and real power had been wielded by his brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, only three years younger at age 81: "With all sorrow and sadness, the royal court in the name of his highness Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and all members of the family announces the death of the custodian of the two holy mosques, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz," according to a statement read on state-run Saudi TV by the country's information minister. ... The Saudi statement said the new King Abdullah announced that his half brother and the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, 77, would be the nation's next crown prince....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

French Adman: We Are A Nation Of Children

The president of France's largest advertising agency has delivered a scorching assessment of the state of his nation, blaming politicians for turning France into a nation of children and the electorate for demanding such treatment in the first place. Maurice Levy wrote a front-page opinion essay in Le Monde, the leading French newspaper, warning his fellow citizens of France's steep decline and pointing to the loss of their Olympic bid as a result: Maurice Lvy, the head of the media giant Publicis, whose company owns Saatchi and Saatchi and has offices in 100 countries across six continents, said France had failed to get the 2012 Olympics because the world now saw it as a nation of perdants - "losers". For good measure, he described the 35-hour week as "absurd" and the wails of complaint that followed Paris's loss of the Games to London as "pathetic". ... "Later, when it was...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Continuing Scandal At Air America

The New York Sun takes on the Air America story today and advances it by leaps and bounds, talking with the president of the non-profit which had its money taken by Air America founder Evan Cohen. It turns out that Cohen didn't just get money for the netlet, but also managed to get plenty for his own pockets as well while sitting on the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club board: Initially, members of the executive committee viewed Mr. Cohen fondly because he had thrown a tremendously successful fund-raising affair for Gloria Wise in Manhattan last year. They recalled being impressed by the wealthy clientele and the large sums of money he raised, according to Ms. Graves. Because of that confidence in Mr. Cohen, she said, the executive committee approved two loans to Air America, one for $80,000 and another for $87,000. Ms. Capell said she had met Mr. Cohen...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Bolton Gets The Recess Nod

John Bolton accepted a recess appointment as ambassador to the United Nations this morning, bringing to a close a long and embarrassing chapter of Senatorial obstructionism. Bush didn't hesitate a single day of the Congressional hiatus to elevate Bolton to the top spot at Turtle Bay, a cesspool of corruption and intrigue that sorely needs a firm voice and a stubborn disposition: "This post is too important to leave vacant any longer," Bush said. Senate Democrats had blocked Bolton's nomination in a dispute over documents amid accusations that Bolton doesn't have the temperament for the nation's top U.N. post. Under the Constitution, the president has the power to make temporary appointments without Senate confirmation when Congress goes into recess. Lawmakers began their current break on Friday. The recess appointment puts Bolton at the United Nations until at least January 2007. Senator Chris Dodd tried a last-minute rhetorical block on Bolton's...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dan Rather Tells Us What He's Learned (Not Much)

One would think that the past year has provided many life lessons to former CBS anchor Dan Rather, who lost most of his credibility by presenting faked memos in a smear job on President Bush at a critical moment of the election, and then continued to insist that the documents were authentic (or not proven inauthentic, depending on which day he spoke). Perhaps chief among those lessons would be to authenticate the documents, recheck your sources for their biases, learn how to apologize and admit error ... most people would learn those sorts of lessons from Rather's experience. Rather gives quite a different list to Esquire Magazine, however. In a strange and utterly superficial bit of fluff, the man who insists that his role as a journalist takes precedence over any other assignment instead channels Larry King in this guest column. Some of his pearls of wisdom amount to little...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

What's In The Water In Massachusetts?

The commentary has begun to percolate on the recess appointment of John Bolton to the United Nations post, for which Senate Democrats twice filibustered rather than allow a confirmation vote. The comments have predictably shown their partisan bias. Republicans, except for George Voinovich, have offered their support and decried the necessity of a recess appointment. Voinovich reiterated his opposition to Bolton but pledged to support him and his work in the future. Democrats, for the most part, have emphasized their opposition to Bolton but kept their remarks rational. However, in this last group, we have already seen two exceptions, and to no one's great surprise, the exceptions come from Massachusetts' Senators, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Both remain true to form in their reactions. Kerry gets his facts wrong, and Kennedy sees dark conspiracies and abuses of power. Kerry first (emphases mine): "The president has the right to make this...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Gray Lady On Plame: Never Mind

The New York Times finally noticed in its wall-to-wall coverage of the Valerie Plame leak case that Plame hardly equated to the deep-cover agent her husband, Joseph Wilson, claimed her to be. Far from learning the name and occupation of Wilson's wife from a Deep Throat inside source at the White House, it turns out that all Robert Novak had to do was read a book: One of the most puzzling aspects of the C.I.A. leak case has had to do with the name of the exposed officer. Why did the syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak identify her as Valerie Plame in exposing her link to the C.I.A. in July 2003 when she had been known for years both at the agency and in her personal life by her married name, Valerie Wilson? Mr. Novak offered a possible explanation for the disconnect on Monday, suggesting in his column that he...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 2, 2005

Err America: Franken Speaks, Buries The Excuses

David Lombino has another installment in the emerging financing scandal at Air America that Brian Maloney first uncovered last week. Today, Lombino publishes an interview with Al Franken that demolishes attempts by Air America supporters to defend the netlet from its connection to potential wire fraud and misappropriation of government grant money intended for poor kids and Alzheimer's patients (via Michelle Malkin): Mr. Franken said he has learned details of the story only in the last week. He said Piquant LLC, current owner and operator of the radio network, found a record of the transfers while conducting a "forensic" investigation into the finances of the previous owner, Progress Media, which was run by Mr. Cohen. That internal probe was conducted before the city agency became involved, Mr. Franken said. Efforts by The New York Sun to reach Mr. Cohen for comment in recent days have been unsuccessful. A Piquant spokesman...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Gray Lady Weeps Over Bolton Appointment

The New York Times editorial board works itself into quite an emotional state this morning over the recess appointment of John Bolton to the UN. In fact, their editorial today goes so far as to praise Condoleezza Rice's performance at State, which they haven't bothered to do as a stand-alone opinion, just to take a swipe at Bolton: If there's a positive side to President Bush's appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations yesterday, it's that as long as Mr. Bolton is in New York, he will not be wreaking diplomatic havoc anywhere else. Talks with North Korea, for instance, have been looking more productive since Mr. Bolton left the State Department, and it's hard not to think that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's generally positive performance in office is due, in part, to her canniness in dispatching Mr. Bolton out of Washington. The editors just spew...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: A New York Attorney Consults

CQ reader and New York attorney Eric O. Costello, Esq. has followed the Air America story over the past several days here at CQ, Michelle Malkin, and Radio Equalizer. He sent me an e-mail this morning that comprehensively looks at the legal issues surrounding the transfer of $875,000 from a Bronx non-profit to Air America -- and also the notion floated by Al Franken that a "forensic" investigation had already brought this to Piquant Media's attention. Mr. Costello has kindly consented to publication of his observations: I am a lawyer, admitted in New York State since 1992, with a fair amount of experience in corporate transactions (I used to do a lot of corporate/SEC work -- I'm mostly in litigation, these days). I also was on the board of directors of a not-for-profit corporation for over a decade, serving as one of that corporation's officers as well. Please excuse any...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Not That We Blame You, Of Course ...

Bill Clinton has a new spokesperson, the AP reports this morning. Jay Carson replaces Jim Kennedy, who has a new job flacking for Sony Pictures in Hollywood. Carson has a long history with the Democratic Party -- and something tells me that this new job might have provided a way for the Democrats to shorten it a bit: Former President Bill Clinton has hired a new spokesman, a veteran of the Howard Dean 2004 presidential campaign and New York City's 2012 Olympics bid. Jay Carson was also a former press secretary for Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and has worked for the Democratic National Committee. Clinton's office announced Carson's hiring Tuesday. Hmm. Let's see: Dean campaign -- self-destructs. NYC's Olympic bid finished out of the money. Tom Daschle managed to go from the Senate caucus leader to private citizen. The DNC just got co-opted by Mad How disease, whose series of...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

DNC: Please Never Take Us Seriously Again

My apologies and newfound respect go out to Jay Carson, who apparently got out of the DNC just before the roof caved in on common sense and rationality. The Howard Dean-led DNC has decided to deride President Bush for staying physically fit while in office: WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is a fact sheet released today by the Democratic National Committee: The White House this weekend announced that President Bush received good news during his annual physical. Doctors pronounced the President to be in "superior" physical condition, which media reports attributed to his rigorous, six day a week exercise routine. While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his Administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs. "President Bush's has dropped the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Americans Coming Together Falls Apart

John Fund notes in OpinionJournal's Political Diary (e-mail subscription only) that the grassroots organization Americans Coming Together has quietly closed its doors. I have not yet seen any press release announcing this; in fact, the ACT website says nothing at all about a cessation. However, ACT last updated its blog almost a month ago. Given all the political tussles this summer, it sounds as if no one's home at ACT. Fund writes: Last month, ACT quietly shut its doors and went out of existence. Remarkably, its demise attracted almost no media attention. But that doesn't mean it didn't teach its backers some lessons. Privately, some Democrats admit that ACT's emphasis on using paid workers to gin up voter turnout was eclipsed by Republican efforts to motivate volunteers to do the same work for free. In the end, ACT will stand as a monument to how big money in politics --...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Another Legal Consultation

Earlier, New York attorney Eric Costello reviewed the known facts and allegations surrounding the scandal at Air America and gave us his trenchant observations. He laid out the possibilities for legal action and criminal investigation, if the reporting from the New York Sun and the blogosphere proved correct. In a follow-up e-mail, he reviews the applicable laws in more depth and points out where Air America and Gloria Wise might face some tough scrutiny, assuming Eliot Spitzer ever decides to get involved. Further to my email of this morning, I had a bit of free time on my hands, so I went spelunking into the various areas of New York State laws and regulations regarding not-for-profits. A few items of interest turned up, which I pass on to you for whatever you think it's worth. You may quote me on this. In this email, "EL" stands for the Executive Law,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dionne Tosses Out The Constitution

Something about Republican executive nominations seems to make George Bush's opponents suffer short-term memory loss. First Senator Ted Kennedy and now Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne forgot about the Constitution regarding two different nominees. In today's Post column, Dionne argues that the Senate Judiciary Committee should transform itself into the secular Inquisition by interrogating John Roberts about his Catholicism during his confirmation hearings: Conservatives have long argued, correctly, that religiously inspired voices have a legitimate place in the public square. Limiting religion to the private sphere relegates it to what the theologian David Tracy has called the "harmless reservations of the spirit." But if religion is to play a serious role in politics, believers have to accept the obligation to explain themselves publicly. That's why it would be helpful if Roberts gave an account of how (and whether) his religious convictions would affect his decisions as a justice. President Bush...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Tapscott: No One Mourns The Wall?

Mark Tapscott wonders why the mainstream media and the blogs haven't shown more interest in a statement by the New York Times' Bill Keller last month essentially admitting that "even sophisticated readers of The New York Times sometimes find it hard to distinguish between news coverage and commentary in our pages." Mark writes that no one seems all that shocked to hear Keller admit this: I blogged at length on Keller's memo and the committee report June 28. But besides postings by other bloggers, reports in Editor & Publisher, some pieces in Salon and Slate and an edition of PBS's excellent "On the Media" radio show hosted by Bob Garfield, Keller's comment has all but disappeared since its initial public appearance in mid May. That invisibility might be attributable to some degree to professional courtesy among editors, but my guess is that it is more related to not wanting to...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

A Storied Name Returns To Arizona Politics

Democrats hold the governorship in Arizona at the moment, but Janet Napolitano won't rest easily tonight after seeing who just tossed his hat in the ring for her job in 2006. Don Goldwater, the nephew of legendary Republican conservative and Arizona statesman Barry Goldwater, has decided to run for Napolitano's job: Republican Party activist Don Goldwater announced his candidacy Tuesday for governor in 2006, sounding some of the same conservative themes once heard from his uncle, 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. "The state is headed in the wrong direction," said the 50-year-old candidate. "We must return to the basic principles of limited government, individual liberty and economic freedom." Goldwater said he would push for tax cuts and school choice and combat illegal immigration. He said he would fully enforce a voter-approved immigration law, including its requirement that voters produce identification at polling places. He called illegal immigration destructive to the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Let The Lawsuits Begin

In Ohio's second Congressional district, the GOP has apparently held the seat against a well-funded challenge from a Democrat who recently returned from Iraq. Jean Schmidt beat Paul Hackett by four points and 3,500 votes, a margin that in ordinary circumstances would suggest that recounts would be pointless. However, given the high profile assigned to this race by Democratic activists trying their best to elect an anti-war veteran to Congress, Ohio's voters should expect more of the same hysterical charges of election stealing that we saw after the 2004 election. Barbara Boxer will be warming her voice up for the morning talk shows after her first cup of coffee, I presume. Lori at Polipundit has followed this story much more closely than I have, for reasons which I'll cover in a moment. She says that the media will spin this as a loss for Bush, even though she sees it...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 3, 2005

Air America: Exempt Media's Dead Air

And on the eighth day after the revelation about the financing scandal at Air America, the Exempt Media (or, as NY Times managing editor Bill Keller called it on Charlie Rose last night, the "quality media") remained ... silent. Not a word so far about the deceptive transfers of almost a million dollars in non-profit donations and government grant monies to the liberal radio netlet has appeared in any major media outlet except for the New York Post and the Washington Times, and two excellent articles at the New York Sun that showed how deep the scandal runs. Today Michelle Malkin and I attempt to address the issue ourselves. Michelle has a new column out today (also here) about why the usual suspects in the civil-rights establishment have not erupted in outrage over the theft of government grants intended in part for poor and overwhelmingly minority children: If a conservative...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: Imminent Domain

This one slid under the electrified fence, wriggled through the bales of razor-wire, and nearly escaped. Fortunately, my elf-eyed wife Sachi caught it in the spotlight at the last moment. After the Supreme Court held in Kelo v. New London that the city of New London could seize non-blighted residential real estate and sell it to a developer for no other "public use" reason than the fact that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc. would pay more property tax on that land, many of us predicted that it would be open season on private property... and not just residential, either. Why not seize a group of small businesses, throw the owners out with a cut-rate payout, and sell the land to a much larger corporation? Wouldn't the public be better served by a brand, spanking new commercial apartment complex than some dirty old auto-parts stores? Well, I know you'll be shocked, shocked...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Questionnaire Provides More Answers On Roberts

The Washington Post reports this morning that a questionnaire and other documents released by the White House provide more answers about the judicial philosophy of John Roberts, revealing his impulse towards judicial restraint and deference to Congress in fashioning law and policy. These revelations should soothe conservative nervousness about the potential for Roberts to become another David Souter, while causing more liberal anguish and opposition: Responding to a question about judicial activism, Roberts said, "When the other branches of government exceed their constitutionally-mandated limits, the courts can act to confine them to the proper bounds. It is judicial self-restraint, however, that confines judges to their proper constitutional responsibilities." ... The new documents disclosed by the archive that reflect Roberts' skeptical views regarding a "fundamental" right to privacy include a lengthy article on judicial restraint that he apparently drafted for publication in a journal of the American Bar Association under the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

A Blogger In Need

One of the first blogs I ever read was Electric Venom, the domain of Venomous Kate and a nice blend of political debate and personal venting. She taught me a bit about the etiquette of blogging and gave me some good advice early on. If one can be said to be an "old-school" blogger, Venomous Kate certainly qualifies. Now she needs our help. She went cycling with her young son and had a bad accident which has knocked out a number of her teeth. In order to pay for the enormous dental bills, she has asked for donations to her PayPal account. As far as I know, this is the only bleg Kate has ever staged at Electric Venom, amazing since a visit to her site shows how much time and money she has spent on the aesthetics. If you can, drop a few dollars in the PayPal account. After...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Islamic Jihad's Bad Aim A National Scandal: PA

Now we know what it takes to get Palestinian terrorists to stop killing Israelis long enough to allow them to withdraw from the Gaza Strip -- terrorists with bad aim killing Palestinian children. Islamic Jihad announced that it will observe a cease-fire intended to allow Israel time to get out of Gaza after they killed a 5-year-old Palestinian boy in a botched missile attack in Beit Hanoun: A major Palestinian militant group promised Wednesday it would fire no more rockets at Israelis during Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, after a barrage inadvertently killed a 5-year-old Palestinian boy. ... There was no claim of responsibility for the assault Tuesday night, which was aimed at a large gathering of Israeli withdrawal opponents in the town of Sderot just over the Gaza border. Instead, the rudimentary rockets hit a house in the Palestinian town of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, killing...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Miller's Conscience Goes Unrewarded

Judith Miller and her status as First Amendment martyr has provided a lesson in the shifting principles of the Exempt Media during her imprisonment for protecting her sources. She has not garnered the sympathy normally garnered from her media colleagues -- not because she broke the law and defied a court order, but because she protects sources they don't especially like. The latest example of this got the attention of Editor & Publisher, which reports that an independent writers group has rescinded an award for Miller: The board of The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) has voted unanimously to reverse an earlier decision to give its annual Conscience in Media award to jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller, E&P has learned. The group's First Amendment committee had narrowly voted to give Miller the prize for her dedication to protecting sources, but the full board has now voted...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Report Says Dems Intimidated Voters Far More Than GOP In 2004 (Updates!!)

UPDATE II: I still haven't seen much about where ACVR gets its funding. I have seen plenty about how Mark F. "Thor" Hearne worked on the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000 and 2004. But the other signatory to the report is Brian A. Lunde, who by this description hardly appears to be a right-wing idealogue:

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Terrorists Murder Author, Blogger Steven Vincent

The BBC reports this morning that author and blogger Steven Vincent was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists near Basra. His female Iraqi translator survived the kidnapping, but the terrorists dumped Vincent's bullet-ridden body outside of the city within hours of his kidnapping: The pair were kidnapped by five gunmen in a police car as they left a currency exchange shop, Lt Col Karim al-Zaidi said. "Both were later shot, but Vincent was killed, while the girl [translator] is alive," said Mr Zaidi. Mr Vincent was shot several times in the head and body, said Mr Zaidi. The translator, Nour Weidi, was seriously wounded. This death hits closer to home for me. Steven had appeared on our radio show several months ago when his book In The Red Zone first came out. While Steven supported the general war effort in Iraq, his writings did not fall into the category of cheerleading...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Summer Brings Few Changes In Canadian Politics

Now that Canadians have avoided the dreaded summer election, it appears that the tug-and-pull of electoral politics has also taken a seasonal break. According to a new poll from Environics, almost no change at all has taken place in support for the main parties since the pre-Gomery period: This latest survey shows that, nationally, 34 percent of eligible and decided Canadian voters would support the Liberal Party if an election were held today, compared with 36 percent in the March-April period (this difference falls well within the margin of sampling error). The Conservative Party now has the support of 31 percent (versus 30%), while the New Democratic Party is also holding steady at 20 percent (versus 19%). One in ten (11%) Canadian voters remain undecided about which party might deserve their support (down from 13%). Across the country, party preferences have moved modestly in some regions. The Liberals have lost...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Is It 2008 Already?

Gallup has decided to get a head start on the next presidential election by beginning to build its polling data now to read trends and create projections for later in the cycle. However, one handicap presents itself -- a lack of declared candidates. Instead of waiting for volunteers, Gallup simply picks the two likeliest candidates from each side, in its own humble opinion, and asks registered voters who they prefer. Gallup predicts that John McCain and Rudy Giuliani will emerge as the GOP frontrunners. For the Democrats, Gallup predicts that Hillary Clinton will face John Kerry in the primaries as her biggest rival. In that, they must be the only people other than Kerry himself to take his remaining potential as a major candidate seriously. Their own polling shows that; for the first time ever, more voters disapprove of Kerry than approve of him (48-42). And Kerry hasn't even begun...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 4, 2005

Europe To Radical Islamists: Bye-Atollah

Europe appears to finally have awakened to the threat of radical Islam within its own borders after the series of London bombings conducted by home-grown Islamist terrorists. Governments throughout the Continent have decided to start expelling radical imams glorifying jihad and inciting their congregations to violaence: Countries across Europe are working to expel radical Islamic clerics who glorify and condone acts of terrorism, in hopes of stemming the tide of extremism among impressionable Muslim youth. France deported an imam to his native Algeria on Friday for incendiary sermons at mosques in Paris, and at least eight more extremist clerics are expected to be banished in the coming weeks. Italy expelled eight fundamentalist Palestinian preachers on Tuesday for not holding proper residency permits, Italian news agency ANSA reported. The British Home Office announced recently that it will introduce an anti-terror bill that criminalizes "indirect incitement of terrorism," and is creating a...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: IBD Wonders Where The Exempt Media Went

Investors Business Daily publishes an editorial about the Air America funding scandal that took almost a million dollars from a Bronx non-profit. IBD asks, as we have, why the Exempt Media has gone AWOL: New York City's Department of Investigation is looking into charges that $875,000 from a Bronx nonprofit group and an affiliate whose budgets are generously stuffed with local, state and federal grants was inappropriately used to fund Air America, the left's counterattack on the colossal success of conservative talk radio. The two groups the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club and Pathways for Youth said they thought they were making a loan to the network. But when Evan Montvel Cohen was working as both chairman of Air America and director of development for Gloria Wise, some red flags should have been raised. Jeannette Graves, president of Gloria Wise's executive committee, has said that without her...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Friends

It's good to have them. And ... once again ... glass house, meet stones. Speaking of friends, Michelle Malkin has a new book coming out soon called Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild. She gives her readers a sneak peek at the Munch-inspired cover. Trust me, this book will knock your socks off when it gets released in October. Start saving the pennies now....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

AP Editorializing Through Headlines Again

The Associated Press has returned once again to its bad habit of editorializing with headlines that have no substantion in the story. CQ reader Retired Military sends this latest example of the abuse, topping a story about combat losses for sons of Ohio. Titled "Ohio Families Fed Up With Loss of Marines," nothing in the story offers any such sentiment: Rosemary Palmer and her husband were making plans to attend memorial services for six Marine reservists killed earlier this week five of them from the same battalion as her son, Lance Cpl. Edward Schroeder when two uniformed servicemen came down her street. ... For relatives of those in the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, there has been a sudden spike in such grim visits from uniformed servicemen. Schroeder, 23, of Cleveland, and 13 more Marines from the Ohio-based battalion were killed Wednesday along with a civilian interpreter in the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: DOI Says Go Ahead And Return The Money

Today's New York Post reports that one of Air America's assertions about their attempts to repay the $875,000 to Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club is "inaccurate". Piquant Media issued an announcement a few days ago that the AA parent company wanted to start reimbursing the Bronx charity non-profit, but could not do so until instructed by New York City's Department of Investigations, which has an open case on the money transfers between Gloria Wise and Air America. The DOI says, "Who, us?": Air America's foot-dragging on repaying $875,000 borrowed from a beleaguered Boys & Girls Club in The Bronx has nothing to do with a probe of the club's controversial loans, city investigators said yesterday. Officials at the ultra-liberal radio network have repeatedly said Air America intends to repay the money, but claimed they put those plans on hold because of the city probe. "We're waiting for directions from...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Corzine Loaned Money To Girlfriend ... And?

When money gets moved between politicians and labor unions, conservatives get concerned about the relationship between the two and rightly suspect foul play. Of course, having union officials loan money to politicians, especially on a personal basis, raises an issue of impropriety or at least a conflict of interest. However, when the money goes the other direction on the basis of a clearly personal relationship, it hardly seems newsworthy ... except at the New York Times: Senator Jon S. Corzine provided a $470,000 mortgage to the president of a union that represents thousands of New Jersey state employees in late 2002, then forgave the debt two years later. The union president, Carla Katz, was Mr. Corzine's girlfriend at the time. The senator said on Wednesday that an investment company he owns gave her the mortgage, then canceled it in December 2004, several months after they had stopped dating. The loan...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

In Remembrance Of Steven Vincent

Our Northern Alliance Radio colleague King Banaian has posted the audio from the last NARN interview with Steven Vincent, conducted just before his departure to Basra where terrorists murdered him and wounded his colleague. As King notes at his own site, please download the file to your computer first before playing it. It's sampled better than webstream quality, so it will keep his site from taking too big of a hit....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Gray Lady Turns Into The National Enquirer

Note: This originally appeared as an update on my post about Jon Corzine and the article regarding the loan to his ex-girlfriend. I'm posting it separately instead. Speaking of news priorities, now we know why the Paper of Record has failed to report on Air America's misappropriation of city grant monies earmarked for poor kids and Alzheimer's patients. Drudge reports that the Times would rather try to dig up dirt on the adopted children of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts: The NEW YORK TIMES is looking into the adoption records of the children of Supreme Court Nominee John G. Roberts, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. The TIMES has investigative reporter Glen Justice hot on the case to investigate the status of adoption records of Judge Roberts two young children, Josie age 5 and Jack age 4, a top source reveals. ... A TIMES insider claims the look into the adoption...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Novak Walks Off

Bob Novak blew a gasket today and stormed off the set of CNN's "Inside Politics", one of the usually more sane political reviews on cable news. After having spent years on "Crossfire" with Paul Begala, Michael Kinsley, and Bill Press, one would think that Novak had thick enough skin to do a straight-up three-way interview with Ed Henry and James Carville. Apparently not. Novak and Carville started discussing the allegations made by Florida Republican Katherine Harris that the media distorted her pictures deliberately during the 2000 post-election fiasco, colorizing them to make her look more gaudy and overly made up. Up to that point in the interview, the three had conducted themselves courteously, even graciously. When Carville attempted to interrupt Novak, however, Novak got incensed and may have created an FCC violation for CNN: CARVILLE: Yes. You know the two happiest people in America today about this decision, is Bill...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 5, 2005

Two More AIPAC Officials Charged

The Israeli-American relationship will go through even more strain after federal prosecutors announced indictments for two more former officials from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on charges of transmitting classified information overseas. The two, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, join Larry Franklin as targets of the investigation, and Israel now acknowledges that investigators have formally contacted their embassy for further probing into the matter: Two former employees of an influential pro-Israel lobbying group were indicted yesterday on charges that they illegally received and passed on classified information to foreign officials and reporters over a period of five years, part of a case that has complicated relations between the United States and one of its closest allies. Although no foreign government is named in the indictment, U.S. government sources have identified Israel as the country at the center of the probe. The Israeli Embassy in Washington also confirmed yesterday...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Building A Case Against Iran?

MS-NBC reported last night that American military forces captured a large shipment of shape charges, the kind of explosives used against American military forces by Iraqi terrorists. Sources within the military and intelligence communities told the network that the charges originated with Iran, an allegation that could have potential to escalate already-existing disputes between Washington and Teheran: U.S. military and intelligence officials tell NBC News that American soldiers intercepted a large shipment of high explosives, smuggled into northeastern Iraq from Iran only last week. The officials say the shipment contained dozens of "shaped charges" manufactured recently. Shaped charges are especially lethal because theyre designed to concentrate and direct a more powerful blast into a small area. Theyll go right through a very heavily armored vehicle like an M1-A1 tank from one side right out the other side, says retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey. Military officials say theres only one...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Arizona Republic Notices It Before NYT

For most newspapers, having an out-of-town paper beat you to a story in your own back yard would prove terribly embarrassing. Not for the New York Times, apparently, as a paper publishing over 2,000 miles from the Bronx has managed to notice the unfolding scandal of Air America's misappropriation of almost a million dollars in city grants and other monies from a non-profit. Arizona Republic columnist Doug MacEachern scolds the Exempt Media, especially the Gray Lady, in allowing this story to continue, as he puts it, moving forward "like a Mack truck in first gear": A private media start-up with huge political pretensions and meager financial underpinnings uses taxpayer dollars from a Boys & Girls Club to help pay the salaries of high-profile hosts like comedian Al Franken. As a result of these dubious loans and other self-dealing, the Gloria Wise club will be sending no more poor kids from...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

American Muslims: Fatwa Was CYA Only

After a band of Islamic scholars in America issued much-heralded fatwa against religious violence last week, the media cheered its message as a concrete example of mainstream Muslim opposition to terrorism. However, the edict generated considerable skepticism among analysts, which noted several technical problems with the specific wording, arguing that the fatwa had enough gaps to justify all but the most egregious acts of terrorism. Now the Washington Times reports that the command has failed to satisfy even American Muslims, who sound similar criticisms: The fatwa condemning religious extremism recently issued by American Muslim groups was so broad it was meaningless, and should have denounced specific terrorist groups including al Qaeda, critics within the U.S. Muslim community say. ... Muqtedar Khan, a political scientist at the University of Delaware and author of "American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom," said it appeared the main aim of last week's fatwa was protecting...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Losing Interest? (Updated)

The New York Sun's David Lombino follows up today on the Air America scandal with news that the loan payback from Piquant Media has lost something in the translation -- namely, the interest owed on it. Piquant Media finally agreed to pay back the $875,000 Evan Cohen misappropriated from Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Clubs for his own personal use and to fund Air America when the netlet seemed ready to collapse. They want to extend payments over two years, but Lombino reports that Piquant will not pay interest on what documents show was supposed to be a loan from Gloria Wise (emphasis mine): An employee of Air America, who requested anonymity, said yesterday that it received a letter from the city Department of Investigation recommending that the network set up an attorney-managed escrow account for the payments, rather than pay Gloria Wise directly or wait until the department's investigation...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Hoist Upon Her Own Petard

Nancy Clark writes a sports column for the Des Moines Register. Bloggers could be forgiven for having never heard of her, but she certainly has heard about bloggers, if yesterday's column gives any indication. She gives vent to a hilarious rant about the credibility of the Exempt Media while denigrating bloggers ... and manages to unwittingly demonstrate why the blogosphere exists in the first place. First, one has to understand how frustrating it must feel to write a sports column in Des Moines. Iowa's capitol has a population "approaching 200,000", making it more equivalent to a suburb in most places, and hardly attracting much attention from sports teams. That explains why Clark's lead sounds so humorous: Today I'll be talking with Dan McCarney. The bloggers won't. I'll also be posing questions during Iowa State's media day to Bret Meyer, Todd Blythe and Jason Scales. The bloggers won't. Monday, I'll be...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Novak Apologizes

Robert Novak apologized to CNN viewers today, for storming off the set of Inside Politics and using an expletive in response to an exchange with James Carville. He did not attempt to justify or explain his actions, and did not use the excuse that pressure from the Plame investigation caused his patience to run short: Robert Novak apologized Friday for swearing on the air and walking off a CNN set, but said it had nothing to do with the federal probe sparked by his revelation of a CIA officer's name in a 2003 column. "I apologize for my conduct and I'm sorry I did it," he said in an interview. CNN has pulled him off the air indefinitely. Novak said "I'll follow their guidance" on when he returns. As Michelle Malkin notes, this is how to apologize and take responsibility, as opposed to the "I'm sorry you were offended" apologies...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Explanation Was Almost Worse

Partisans of both sides have long lists of politicians they love to hate. For some on the Left, George Bush and Tom DeLay top their rosters, while others on the Right usually think of Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, and whichever Clinton happens to hit the headlines. Some gather near-universal disdain, such as David Duke -- but he still garners some idiotic support from the fringes. However, in North Carolina, we may have found a truly unifying figure, one so disgraceful that just about everyone can feel repulsed by his actions. The AP reports that a Charlotte city council candidate had to withdraw after his extracurricular writings came to the attention of a weekly newsletter: A city council candidate dropped out of the race Friday after it was disclosed that he posted comments to a white supremacist Internet bulletin board more than 4,000 times. Doug Hanks said the postings were fictional...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 6, 2005

Dafydd: Crystal Gaza

Israel is just about to evacuate the settlers from Gaza, by force if necessary. Most observers are tearing their hair out, seeing nothing but bad coming from this. The argument -- and it's perfectly logical, as far as it goes -- is that by withdrawing the settlers and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) which is primarily there to defend them with checkpoints, searches, and restrained shows of force, a power vacuum will be created. The Palestinian Authority will of course be too weak to maintain its power, so Hamas (and perhaps Hezbollah or Palestinian Islamic Jihad) will seize control instead. (Though Al-Qaeda has also now staked a claim to Gaza, and the strip may turn into a decidedly uncivil civil war instead of smoothly transitioning to Hamas.) Thus, Gaza will inevitably become a new base for militant Islamists, say those opposing the pullout. Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posts the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Spitzer's Difference

Today's New York Post reports that New York's headline-grabbing Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has finally decided to look into the shady business dealings between Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club and Air America. For jurisdictional purposes, the focus of Spitzer's investigation will start with Gloria Wise, but if allegations of fraud and forgery prove true, Spitzer will no doubt have to expand the scope of his probe: State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer yesterday opened an investigation into the Bronx social-services agency that made $875,000 in bizarre loans to Air America radio, The Post has learned. "We are looking into it in consultation with the city's Department of Investigation," Spitzer spokesman Darren Dopp revealed. The highly unusual loans to the left-wing radio network were made by the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club which was visited by one of Spitzer's investigators yesterday, officials said. Dopp said Spitzer's probe is examining...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The New Gitmo Catch-22

Critics of the detention of unlawful combatants at Guantanamo Bay apparently cannot find any reasonable solution for handling terrorists acceptable. After announcing the approval of a new facility for Gitmo detention based on a model county jail system in Michigan to ease the concerns of human-rights activists, the same people complained about the planned release of 200 current detainees to their home countries for further processing: In a few years, Pentagon officials say, the detention center at Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, will have undergone a radical transformation. The sprawling detention site known as Camp Delta, with its watchtowers, double-wide trailers housing rows of steel cells and interrogation rooms will be mostly demolished. Instead, a sharply reduced inmate population of those the military considers the most hard-core will inhabit two nearby hard-walled modern prisons. The newest of those, which is still under construction, is modeled on a modern county jail in Michigan...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Job Creation A Bummer For The Gray Lady

CQ frequently criticizes the New York Times, especially its editorial board, for its obvious and unacknowledged biases in its coverage (and non-coverage) and its analysis. We should consider how depressing it must be for those editorial-board members, whose staunch leftist politics have put it outside of the mainstream, to see the policies of their opponents achieve such success. George Bush has had an unbroken string of growth since putting his economic plan into place in 2002 and 2003, which has now resulted in a significant and unexpected (at the NYT, anyway) rise in tax revenues and a major drop in the federal deficit. Now the new job-creation numbers show that new work has picked up across the board. All of this happy news for Americans just seems to bring out the inner pessimist at the Paper of Record, however: Still, it's not robust. If jobs were being created today at...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Nancy Clark Checks Out

Yesterday I took my lunch break to feast on the efforts of sports columnist Nancy Clark at the Des Moines Register to denigrate bloggers as rumormongers and liars, while holding herself up as a paragon of the "journalism of verification". Several CQ readers sent Clark their responses to her misfired braodside. Hopefully they will not hold their breath waiting for a response, because apparently Ms. Clark has her own special method of handling criticism from her readers, as CQ reader Seybernetx found out (emphasis mine): At the risk of "pulling a Nancy", I emailed a reply to Clark's column, saying pretty much what all of you have said here. The response? -------------------------- Your message To: Clark, Nancy Subject: Feeling a little pressured, are we? Sent: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 20:35:03 -0500 was deleted without being read on Fri, 5 Aug 2005 14:09:41 -0500 ----------------------------- It seems that all of the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Muslim Elder Warned British Authorities About London Bomber

An elder at a London mosque tried to involve British authorities two years ago when a group tried to disrupt its moderate congregation through intimidation and preaching of radical Islam, CNN reports today. One of the leaders of the radical group went on to join the terror cell responsible for the July 21 bombing attempts on the London transportation systems: A leader at a mosque visited by one of the London July 21 bombing suspects says he warned police that Hamdi Issac was dangerous more than two years ago. An elder at the Stockwell Mosque in south west London says he wrote to a senior police officer urging him to help deal with a group of young people who had been "harassing" and intimidating the moderate Muslims. Toaha Qureshi, one of the mosque's Trustees, told CNN that Issac -- the alleged Shepherds Bush attempted bomber currently fighting extradition from Italy...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Azeri Authorities Claim American-Backed Coup Attempt

The authoritarian government in Azerbaijan, which had made some noises about liberalization, has accused an American NGO of fomenting a violent coup and has used this development as an excuse to crack down on political opposition. The Turkish Press reports that the National Democratic Initiative (NDI) strongly denies any such intent, saying only that they wanted to promote free elections in order to transition from autocracy to representative government in a peaceful and legal manner: Azeri prosecutors announced Thursday they had arrested the leader of a youth group, saying he was plotting to launch a peaceful popular revolution during parliamentary elections in November at the instigation of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). "The allegations that we are funding a revolution just aren't true," NDI's director for Azerbaijan, Christy Quirk told AFP. In a statement the NDI said it cooperates with "all political parties" to promote free and fair voting. ......

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Trackback Problems At CQ

For those of you who have e-mailed me about the inability to get trackbacks to work, I'm not blocking you on purpose -- unless you are one of the many spammers trying to hijack my blog for your advertising, in which case you can pound sand. Unfortunately, my MT-Blacklist appears to have a string blocking a large number of legitimate trackback pings. I'm trying to figure that one out, and I'm going to ask the brilliant designer behind the CQ interface, Mel from Bonafide Style, to see what she can do about it. (She's cooking up a surprise for us, too.) In the meantime, feel free to post your link in the comments if the TB ping doesn't work. We will eventually get it worked out....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Drew Johnson On Air America

Drew Johnson, the talented cartoonist that has contributed to CQ on occasion, makes another welcome entry to the current debate on Air America. Here's Drew's Draw: Enjoy!...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Two Quick Hits

Just a couple of links to which I want to alert CQ readers before I start babysitting the Little Admiral for the evening: * My friend Jon Henke, proprietor of the indispensable QandO, has the latest edition of The New Libertarian posted and ready for your reading. It has articles on "the China problem, European economic excuse-making, third-world issues, the Space program, Microsoft, the Supreme Court and more." Jon both writes and edits TNL, which has a number of contributors now. If you're not reading QandO on a regular basis, be sure to start now. * Venomous Kate has received about two-thirds of what she needs for her Fang Fund in order to pay for the dental work she requires after her terrible accident. As I wrote earlier, Venomous Kate was one of the first bloggers I ever read, along with Asparagirl and Power Line. She's received a lot of...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Prayers Answered For Russian Submariners

Seven trapped Russian submariners have been rescued -- alive -- after three days of being trapped 625 feet below the surface: A Russian submarine that had been trapped nearly 190 meters (625 feet) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean was raised Sunday, and all seven crew members are alive, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet has confirmed. The sub was raised about 4:20 p.m. (3:20 a.m. GMT). A U.S. Navy doctor on board a Russian ship was evaluating the conditions of the Russian crew, John Yoshishige said. The rescue mission involved the navies of three countries: Russia, Britain, and some support from the US. A British Scorpio cleared the debris that had entangled its screws, causing the mini-sub to sink to the bottom near the Kamchatka peninsula. Once the Scorpio cleared the debris, described in varying news reports as either fishing nets or an observational attenna, Russian surface...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 7, 2005

Air America: Compare The Scandals

Today we will hold a contest to see how the Exempt Media coverage of Air America's funding scandals holds up against that of another stoy of financial shenanigans. Let's take a look at how many articles the Exempt Media has written about the Air America-Gloria Wise misappropriation of public funds, as opposed to the Martha Stewart insider-trading case -- in the past 30 days: Media outlet.....AA/GW......Martha NY Times..........0...........16* Wash Post.........0..........10 (14 day search) LA Times..........0..........3 CBS News..........0..........1 ABC News..........0.........4 What does this show? The Exempt Media has plenty of resources to continue coverage of a single celebrity who allegedly engaged in insider trading over 4,000 shares of ImClone stock, avoiding $51,000 in losses when bad news hit just afterwards. (Stewart wasn't convicted for insider trading, but obstruction of justice and perjury.) That amounts to 1/18th of what Air America got in misappropriated public funds by sucking money out of Bronx...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

'Just Following Orders' Is Never A Defense

The New York Times runs a sympathetic article on the plight of Mohamed Yousry in its Regional section this morning. Yousry worked as a translator for Lynne Stewart, the attorney representing "The Blind Sheikh" behind the first World Trade Center attack -- and he got convicted of providing material assistance to terrorists along with Stewart and Ahmed Abdel Sattar. The Times tells us that Yousry remains defiant and bemused by his conviction, claiming that he only followed orders from Lynne Stewart: Mr. Yousry's lawyers, David Ruhnke and David Stern, showed in court that he took no actions on his own to help the sheik politically and did his translation work based on instructions he received from Ms. Stewart and other lawyers for Mr. Abdel Rahman, a blind Muslim cleric who is serving a life sentence in federal prison for conspiring to bomb landmarks in New York City. Mr. Yousry's case...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Insurgents Not Happy With Current Management

American forces in Iraq have intercepted a letter from a local terrorist leader from the Mosul area to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The letter does not claim glorious progress against the infidel invader; instead, it complains about the quality of leadership in Northern Iraq and the decreasing effectiveness of the al-Qaeda effort: A letter apparently written by a rebel leader to terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi decries the insurgency's leadership in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, a hotspot in the war. Security forces seized the letter last week in a raid on a safe house that netted arrests and other items. Task Force Freedom, based in Mosul, issued a copy of the letter and a statement about it Saturday. The letter, from an insurgent named Abu Zayd, who calls himself "emir of Farming reform battalion on the west side," cited the incompetence of Mosul's emirs and the disobedience of other...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Tancredo Is Too Late

Rep. Tom Tancredo received a deluge of criticism after suggesting that the US might target Mecca in the event of a nuclear attack on America. According to the British newspaper, the Independent, radical Islam may have made that strategy moot. The cities of Mecca and Medina have suffered the fate of the Buddhist monuments of Afghanistan under the Taliban, and for much the same reasons: Historic Mecca, the cradle of Islam, is being buried in an unprecedented onslaught by religious zealots. Almost all of the rich and multi-layered history of the holy city is gone. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades. Now the actual birthplace of the Prophet Mohamed is facing the bulldozers, with the connivance of Saudi religious authorities whose hardline interpretation of Islam is compelling them to wipe out their own heritage. It is...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Peter Jennings, RIP

Peter Jennings has passed away after a months of combating lung cancer, his colleagues at ABC News announced late tonight: In announcing Jennings' death to his ABC colleagues, News President David Westin wrote: "For four decades, Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him. "As you all know, Peter learned only this spring that the health problem he'd been struggling with was lung cancer. With Kayce, he moved straight into an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. He knew that it was an uphill struggle. But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones. In the end, he was not. "We will have many opportunities in the coming hours and days to remember Peter for all that he meant to us all. It cannot be overstated or...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 8, 2005

Why Did Daily Kos Poach Graphics From Joe Sherlock? (Update)

UPDATE: As I predicted, Markos set this right ... I said that Markos would fix the problem if he found out about it, and he did. Good for him.

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Missing Payrolls?

Brian Maloney, who broke the Air America scandal in the blogosphere over a week ago while the Exempt Media still mostly ignores it, now hears whispers from inside the netlet that employees worry about the company missing its payroll obligations. A delay in posting direct-deposit pay for their final July paychecks apparently has Air America employees buzzing, although anonymously: It's bad enough the company is generating fresh bad publicity almost daily, over the diverted $875,000 in taxpayer funds intended for a Bronx-based community service organization. Now, to make matters worse, an internal memo obtained by the Radio Equalizer indicates Air America Radio employees faced late paychecks just over a week ago. They were apparently stunned to receive a last-minute notice sent at 5:09pm Thursday, July 28th, indicating direct deposits would not be made Friday, as expected. Written by company Vice President/Finance Sinohe Terrero (this article confims Terrero's corporate role), it...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Saudis Warned Brits Of An Impending Attack

Yesterday, the Observer reported that the Saudis officially warned Britain that it had word of an attack on London weeks ahead of the July 7 bombings. Its intelligence services had monitored the cellphone of a terrorist leader in its country and had told Britain of the existence and activation of an Islamist cell within the UK: Saudi Arabia officially warned Britain of an imminent terrorist attack on London just weeks ahead of the 7 July bombings after calls from one of al-Qaeda's most wanted operatives were traced to an active cell in the United Kingdom. Senior Saudi security sources have confirmed they are investigating whether calls from Kareem al-Majati, last year named as one of al-Qaeda's chiefs in the Gulf kingdom, were made directly to the British ringleader of the 7 July bomb plotters. One senior Saudi security official told The Observer that calls to Britain intercepted from a mobile...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Sevan Quits Before He Gets Fired

In anticipation of a highly critical report coming from the Volcker Commission, UN Undersecretary and Oil-For-Food administrator Benon Sevan has called it quits. The BBC reports that Sevan bitterly blames Kofi Annan for sacrficing him to the UN's political enemies in what he says is a futile attempt to appease them: Benon Sevan's announcement on Sunday came a day before a third report on the scandal-plagued programme is published. It is expected to accuse Mr Sevan of receiving cash in return for allocating Iraqi oil contracts in the mid-1990s. ... In his letter Mr Sevan insisted he was innocent of any charges that would be made against him. "The charges are false and you, who have known me all these years, should know they are false," he wrote. This sounds rather suspicious to me. If the report hadn't come out yet, Sevan should not have that much information on its...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Judicial Absurdities Meet Common Sense

A federal judge in Seattle, Judge John Coughenour, gave a ludicrously light sentence to a would-be terrorist that attempted to sneak into the US to carry out a bombing plot at Los Angeles International. Even worse than the sentence, however, was Coughenour's accompanying lecture to the Bush administration on the proper role for the judiciary in addressing terrorism -- after Coughenour had just demonstrated his essential cluelessness about its nature. Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule take apart Coughenour's legal reasoning as well in a Washington Post column this morning: British and American traditions are two-sided: They acknowledge that governments have an obligation to protect people's lives as well as their liberties. No nation preserves liberty atop a stack of its own citizens' corpses, but if one did, it would not be worth defending. The spurious assumption behind both cliches is that whatever package of civil liberties happens to exist at...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

A Surprise For CQ Readers (Bump To Top)

Mel from Bonafide Style has a surprise for CQ readers today. She has built a new skin for Captain's Quarters, one which I believe will make the blog much easier to read and navigate. Click here to change to the new skin and check it out for yourself. She's still fine-tuning it for some other purposes, but I think you will find it ready to roll right now. The new skin keeps the default theme for the blog, but makes the following changes: * A new two-column format for better text presentation * The placement of the flash ad in the banner * New java-based operation for blog utilities * Faster load time for posts Leave your comments and any problems you have in the comments to this post. Mel and I will review the feedback. Once we have finalized the design, we'll make sure it's accessible through the skins...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Belafonte's Godwin Boat Song?

CNS News reports that Harry Belafonte once again sang a bit off-key while venturing into politics this past weekend, calling African-American conservatives "tyrants" and comparing the Bush administration to Hitler and the Nazis. Marc Morano interviewed the entertainer who has long championed civil-rights causes, but lately has used less civil language to do so: Belafonte used a Hitler analogy when asked about what impact prominent blacks such as former Secretary of State Powell and current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had on the Bush administration's relations with minorities. "Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value," Belafonte said in an exclusive interview with Cybercast News Service. "[If] a black is a tyrant, he is first and foremost a tyrant, then he incidentally is black. Bush is a tyrant and if he gathers around him...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

This Is Not Your Father's Oldsmobile

The American military made some significant progress today when it discovered a facility in western Iraq used for building car bombs. Marines found a total of eleven unexploded devices in a town in the Anbar province where terrorists have planned and executed suicide attacks on Iraqi and American forces: U.S. Marines discovered a car bomb factory Monday in a western Iraqi town near where 20 members of the American unit were killed last week, the U.S. military said. Six vehicles rigged with explosives were found in the hideout in the northern part of Haqlaniyah, one of a cluster of towns in western Anbar province long believed to be a stronghold of Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters. "All of the rigged vehicles were destroyed and secondary explosions were observed by the Marines," a Marine statement said. U.S. and Iraqi forces also found five roadside bombs Monday on a road in Haqlaniyah,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Yakovlev Under Arrest; Pleads Guilty

CNN has a flash report that a former UN official named in the Oil-For-Food scandal has pled guilty to money-laundering and conspiracy charges in New York. Earlier today, CNN also reported that Alexander Yakovlev had his diplomatic immunity lifted by the UN and had been arrested shortly afterwards: A former U.N. procurement officer apparently has been arrested in connection with allegations he solicited bribes from companies seeking oil-for-food contracts, an aide to Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday. U.N. officials lifted Alexander Yakovlev's diplomatic immunity at the request of a U.S. prosecutor in New York, and "we believe Mr. Yakovlev is already in custody," Mark Malloch Brown, Annan's chief of staff, told reporters. Yakovlev, a senior procurement officer for the United Nations, resigned in June amid allegations that he helped get his son a job with a firm doing business with the world body. Yakovlev came to light six weeks ago,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 9, 2005

Trackback Problems At CQ Update

Hopefully, this will be good news. I believe I may have found the strings that caused so many Trackback pings to fail over the last couple of weeks, and I have removed them from my MT-Blacklist system. If you continue to see problems with the Trackbacks and you've confirmed that your ping was sent correctly, send me the excerpt that went with your ping so that I can double-check for more bad strings. Thank you for your patience!...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

King Abdullah Sends A Message

With the death of his brother Fahd, Abdullah can now rule Saudi Arabia in his own name instead of as a steward -- and yesterday he sent a message intended for radicals and democrats alike in the Arabian kingdom, and even his own family: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Monday night ordered the pardon and release of three prominent political dissidents and their attorney who had been imprisoned for holding meetings and signing petitions advocating a new constitution for the kingdom. The 18-month imprisonment of the four men -- two university scholars, a poet and their attorney -- had galvanized protests from international human rights groups and prompted a rare public rebuke of Saudi Arabia's autocratic political system from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Lawyers and associates of the reformers described the pardon as an encouraging signal that Abdullah intends to relax the strictures on public debate about the kingdom's political...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

A CNN/AQ Connection In Turkey?

MEMRI provides a bit of shocking information from Turkey in its latest dispatch of Arabic translations for the West. A Turkish terrorist group has launched a newspaper in Istanbul, Kaide ('al-Qaeda' in Turkish), which it distributes across the entire country: The Turkish political weekly Tempo, along with some major Turkish daily newspapers including Milliyet,Aksam and Cumhuriyet, reported that the Islamist Turkish terrorist organization Great East Islamic Raiders Front (IBDA-C) has begun publishing a new weekly, Kaide ("Al-Qaeda" in Turkish) which openly praises its namesake and idolizes Osama bin Laden. Kaide, which looks like an Al-Qaeda bulletin and includes all Al-Qaeda announcements, is published legally in Istanbul and sold at newsstands across Turkey. ... The Turkish weekly Tempo interviewed Kaide executive Ali Osman Zor in Kaide' s offices in the Kasimpasa neighborhood of Istanbul. Following are excerpts: [3] "[] Even the plain fact that Al-Qaeda has an office in Kasimpasa, in...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

4000 Centrifuges Later ...

A leading Iranian dissident with well-established ties within the Iranian nuclear program claims that Teheran has built 4,000 centrifuges, far more than the IAEA suspects, making Iranian claims of peaceful motives behind their nuclear power efforts appear less than honest: Iran has manufactured about 4,000 centrifuges capable of enriching uranium to weapons grade, an exiled Iranian dissident who helped uncover nearly two decades of covert nuclear activity in 2002 said Tuesday. Alireza Jafarzadeh told The Associated Press the centrifuges which he said are unknown to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency are ready to be installed at Iran's nuclear facility in Natanz. Jafarzadeh, who runs Strategic Policy Consulting, a Washington-based think tank focusing on Iran and Iraq, said the information which he described as "very recent" came from sources within the Tehran regime who have proven accurate in the past. The IAEA only knows of 164 centrifuges...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: It's All About ... Al Franken

Al Franken addressed the funding scandal at Air America for the first time on the air yesterday, the New York Post reports. Fortunately for AA listeners, Franken clearly identified the real victim of the misappropriated government grants and questionable loans from Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Clubs. It wasn't the poor kids or the Alzheimer's patients -- it was ... Al Franken: "About three weeks into the life of Air America, I became an involuntary investor I stopped being paid," Franken told listeners yesterday on WLIB (1190 AM). It was the first time the all-liberal network's biggest star addressed at length a controversial $875,000 loan from the disgraced and now de-funded Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club. Since The Post first reported the story on July 30, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced an investigation into the social services agency whose development director, Evan M. Cohen, was also...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

9/11 Cell Identified In 2000 (Updates)

Today's New York Times reveals that military intelligence had identified the core of the 9/11 cell more than a year before the attacks that killed 3,000 people. Mohammed Atta and three of the other hijackers remained unknown to the FBI, however, thanks to the working policy at the time which forbade intelligence services from sharing information with the FBI and other law-enforcement officials: More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress. In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Justice Sunday II ... With Disclosure!

I am pleased to announce that arrangements have firmed up for CQ to live-blog Justice Sunday II in Nashville, TN this Sunday evening. I received an invitation to join several other bloggers in providing live commentary for the event, which will feature such well-known and controversial speakers as Tom DeLay, Zell Miller, William Donahue, Dr. James Dobson, and quite a few others. It will be simulcast to a number of churches and other organizations via satellite and also accessible through their website. Just to make sure everyone understands the arrangements, I want to clearly state that JSII will pay for my travel arrangements to attend this event. In fact, they will pay the costs directly, instead of reimbursing me, so that cash does not change hands. Some CQ readers may wonder why I point this out, but I think Jeff Jarvis makes a good point in his blog yesterday about...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: Tangled Webs, Contrasting Countdowns

NOTE: Text in [square brackets] constitute a correction from earlier, erroneous data. Below, Captain Ed discusses [the manifest failures of the intelligence and police communities pre-9/11, including the possibility that, due to the "wall of separation" between intel and law enforcement, a military data-mining group called Able Danger was prevented in fall 2000 from briefing the FBI on an al-Qaeda cell in Brooklyn that included some of the 9/11 hijackers -- including the leader, Mohammed Atta. Much of the evidence for this comes from Rep. Curt Weldon... whose credibility had been previously maligned by CIA officials, who attacked Weldon personally as a credulous and foolish man.] Indeed, the Captain quotes from a Slate article by Eric Umansky that uses this [earlier CIA attack] to dismiss the entire claim. But is this really legitimate evidence that [debunks the claim], as Umansky believes? Or is this just another example of [] "log...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

For Cathy

Chris Muir has a message for all CQ readers tonight: Please click on the strip itself. It will open a new window for your browser. Keep clicking, and while you're at it, say a prayer for Cathy, Chris, and the whole family....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 10, 2005

Yakovlev Plea Stuns UN

The Times of London reports this morning that the quick guilty plea by Alexander Yakovlev has unnerved United Nations officers and personnel, who fear that Yakovlev has cut a deal with the US that will result in more prosecution. Even his lawyer dropped a strong hint that Yakovlev had bargained for soft treatment: Alexander Yakovlev admitted three charges carrying 20 years each in New York on Monday, as a UN inquiry reported that he had taken almost a million dollars in bribes from companies that won more than $79 million (44 million) in UN business. That he surrendered to the authorities in New York and immediately entered guilty pleas suggests that he may have struck a plea bargain to co-operate with prosecutors in return for a lighter sentence. His lawyer, Arkady Bukh, told The Times that he could not comment because of a confidentiality agreement. Normally, if you enter a...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Confirmation Of Able Danger Raises Even More Questions

The AP reported yesterday that they independently verified the claims published in the New York Times that a secret Army data-mining operation identified a handful of Brooklyn residents as members of al-Qaeda in 2000, but did nothing to notify the FBI because of Justice Department policies forbidding cooperation between intelligence and law-enforcement operations. This confirmation comes from DoD documents, not unnamed sources or grandstanding politicians: Defense Department documents shown to an Associated Press reporter Tuesday said the Able Danger team was set up in 1999 to identify potential al-Qaida operatives for U.S. Special Operations Command. At some point, information provided to the team by the Army's Information Dominance Center pointed to a possible al-Qaida cell in Brooklyn, the documents said. However, because of concerns about pursuing information on "U.S. persons" a legal term that includes U.S. citizens as well as foreigners admitted to the country for permanent residence ...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Piquant Media Buyout A Shell Game?

Piquant Media owns Air America Radio and has repeatedly said during the financial scandal, still unreported by the Exempt Media, that it has no legal obligations for the debts incurred by former ownership, Progress Media and specifically Evan Cohen. Al Franken repeated this during his radio show two days ago, claiming that Piquant only agreed to reimburse Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Clubs out of a sense of moral obligation. However, that fails to tell the entire truth about the ownership of Piquant, its predecessor Progress Media, or the slim differences between previous and current management at Air America Radio. Air America Radio did not start out with Evan Cohen, as Piquant and Franken convenienly suggest. It started out with a man named Sheldon Drobny, a wealthy Chicago investor who wanted to build a leftist media empire and settled on radio to start it. Front Page Magazine told the story...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: CQ Consults Costello Again

Once again, CQ's resident legal analyst Eric Costello, Esq reviews the latest developments on the Air America story -- this time, the question of the ownership change. In an e-mail to CQ, Eric points out a number of legal issues raised in the transfer of assets from Progress to Piquant: As usual, the latest installment of the l'affaire Air America has been read with great interest. Here's my reactions (for public use as you see fit): (1) The term of art that is implicated here, I believe, is what is known as a "fraudulent conveyance," a legal term that goes back a long way. A legal dictionary definition (rather simplifying the concept, of course) of this term is "a conveyance of property without any consideration of value, for the purpose of delaying or bindering creditors. Such a transfer will, when proven to the satisfaction of judge or jury, be declared...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Al-Qaeda Tries To Split The West

After seeing the effect that the Madrid bombings had on the Spanish electorate, it appears that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda have gone on a public-relations campaign to undermine Western resolve in the war on terror. In today's Daily Standard, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross points out the changing rhetoric of AQ leadership that now seems tailored to the tastes of the war's critics, promising a truce (hudna) for the simple act of abandoning Southwest Asia and North Africa for good: AFTER AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI released a new videotape on August 4, the media focused on how he placed the blame for the last month's terrorist attacks in London on Tony Blair's shoulders and threatened even greater carnage in the future. Less noticed but no less important is al Qaeda's changed tactical approach to the West: They are now attempting to convince Westerners that they are worth negotiating with and can be appeased. Zawahiri...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

What'd I Say? Don't Ask The New York Times

That Ray Charles song may come to mind for the participants in the meeting yesterday between Senator Ron Wyden and Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. According to Wyden and reported by the New York Times directly from his notes, Roberts responded to a question regarding the Schiavo case by chastising Congress for stipulating rememdies to the federal judiciary through legislation: Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose case provoked Congressional action and a national debate over end-of-life care, became an issue on Tuesday in the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. when a Democratic senator pressed him about whether lawmakers should have intervened. The senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, said that Judge Roberts, while not addressing the Schiavo case specifically, made clear he was displeased with Congress's effort to force the federal judiciary to overturn a court order withdrawing her feeding tube. "I asked whether it was...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

CNN, Keeping Their Viewers (Mis)Informed (Updated & Bumped)

The controversy over NARAL's advertisement opposing the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court may not do the damage that the pro-abortion lobbying group desired, but it may well bury what's left of CNN's credibility. After taking a beating today when the nonpartisan site Factcheck.org called its claims that Roberts supported violence against women "false" and "especially misleading", NARAL still managed to sell the advertisement to a television channel -- and not just any TV station, but supposedly truth-based CNN, according to the Drudge Report: CNN has reviewed and agreed to run a controversial ad produced by a pro-abortion groups that falsely accuses Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers supporting a convicted abortion clinic bomber, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. The news network has agreed to a $125,000 ad buy from NARAL for a commercial which depicts a bombed out 1998 Birmingham, AL abortion clinic. The...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Power Line Goes MSM

Well, maybe that's overstating it a bit -- but my friends at Power Line announced today that they have rolled out a news aggregation site called Power Line News. They have links to content sources all over the globe, and RSS feeds from the blogs you read, including CQ. It's a slick presentation and a fun site, and as John says, news junkies can get their fill and more through their Java-enabled interface. Drop by and take a look -- you'll want to bookmark it! Note: Saint Paul at Fraters Libertas congratulates John and I for our nascent speaking careers at Premiere Speakers Bureau. He writes one of his funniest posts ever -- and if you read FL, you'll know that's pretty darned hilarious -- comparing us to some of the more, uh, intriguing options available at Premiere. Check out his calculation of our relative value ......

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Chinese Espionage Vaults To Top Of FBI Priorities

After the catastrophic attacks on 9/11, American priorities for intelligence operations understandably shifted overwhelmingly to identifying potential new threats for attacks and other violence on American assets at home and abroad. The London Telegraph now reports that those priorities may have changed again, as the Chinese have taken advantage of the distraction by expanding their military and industrial espionage efforts in the United States: The FBI is deploying hundreds of new agents across America to crack down on spying by a small army of Chinese agents who are stealing information designed to kick-start high-tech military and business programmes. The new counter-intelligence strategy reflects growing alarm at the damage being done by spies hidden among the 700,000 Chinese visitors entering the US each year. "China is the biggest [espionage] threat to the US today," David Szady, the assistant director of the FBI's counter-intelligence division, told the Wall Street Journal. Officers said...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

9/11 Commission Acknowledges Briefing On Able Danger

Tomorrow's New York Times reports that members of the 9/11 Commission reversed themselves and now acknowledge being briefed on the Army's data mining project, Able Danger, prior to the publication of their report to the American people. After over 24 hours of denying that anyone had told the Commission about the secret project, their spokesman now says that commission officials met with a uniformed officer who told them about the identification of Mohammed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers in 2000, over a year prior to the attacks: The Sept. 11 commission was warned by a uniformed military officer 10 days before issuing its final report that the account would be incomplete without reference to what he described as a secret military operation that by the summer of 2000 had identified as a potential threat the member of Al Qaeda who would lead the attacks more than a year later,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 11, 2005

A Disgusting Smear On A Brave Man

The death of Steven Vincent by terrorists in the town of Basra has caused a number of people to turn their attention from the difficulties surrounding Baghdad and the Zarqawi-led foreign band of lunatics operating in that area to the British zone in the south. Before his murder, Vincent wrote about the Shi'ite radicals slowly infiltrating the power structure and their ability to conduct vigilante missions against their former Ba'ath masters, with the British either unable or unwilling to confront them. Now The Scotsman reports that British authorities have started spreading a story that the already-married Vincent got killed for offering a dowry for his Iraqi interpreter, offending the local Muslims, instead of his writing about the ongoing corruption and violence in Basra: AN American journalist who was shot dead in Basra last week was executed by Shiite extremists who knew he was intending to marry his Muslim interpreter, it...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Heads Roll At Gloria Wise, Not Piquant?

The New York Post reports this morning that high-level executive departures have rocked Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club in the wake of the disclosure of almost a million dollars in loans and transfers of government grants to Evan Cohen and Air America. GW also refuted a key claim of Air America in its attempt to distance itself from the shady dealings that kept it on the air: Just days after the executive director abruptly resigned following Post reports that the club had provided $875,000 in bizarre loans to Air America, two other top officials at the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club have quit. Acting executive director Lorraine Corva who took over after Charles Rosen suddenly resigned last week will be leaving her job on Aug. 26, sources said. Assistant executive director Jeff Aulenback also resigned, effective immediately, sources said. Their departures from the embattled social-services agency...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Jimmy Carter And The Cherry Briefing Book

Ask people about Jimmy Carter and the likely response will sound something like, "A good an honest man, a mediocre [or worse] President, and the best former President we've had." The latter part of that statement had been considered the common wisdom almost ever since Carter left office after having lost his bid for a second term to the Reagan Revolution, especially given his high-profile work with charities like Habitat for Humanity. Over the past decade, that carefully-built reputation for charity and honesty has slowly declined as Carter injected himself into foreign policy across three administrations, Democrats and Republicans alike, where he most definitely did not wait for an invitation before commencing to unconstructively meddle where voters clearly told him in 1980 they did not want him. The nadir came last month, when he openly campaigned against the Iraq War overseas in Britain, attempting to undermine US policy and support...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Second Half Of 9/11

Now that the New York Times has printed its confirmation of the Able Danger story and shown that the 9/11 Commission ignored its existence and later lied about being briefed about it, we can turn our attention to another piece of the 9/11 puzzle that the Commission also conveniently overlooked. Over two weeks ago, I posted about the curious case of Mohammed Afroze, the al-Qaeda conspirator who confessed to masterminding a series of attacks on international targets for September 11, 2001, which intended to turn the AQ attack into global warfare. In my Daily Standard column today, I go into more depth about Afroze and his plans: On the day after the failed July 21 bombings in London, an Indian court in Delhi sentenced Mohammed Afroze to seven years in prison for his participation in a wider plot which had been planned for September 11, 2001. Afroze led another al...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

WaPo Correction Names NARAL For False Info On Fox

As promised, the Washington Post has updated its story by Dan Balz published yesterday that claimed both CNN and Fox had sold national advertising to NARAL for its fraudulent commercial insinuating that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts supported violence against women. It ran the correction at the top of the original story on its website: Correction to This Article Because of incorrect information from NARAL Pro-Choice America, an Aug. 9 article incorrectly said that a new television ad attacking Judge John G. Roberts Jr. would air on the Fox News Channel. The Post acknowledges that NARAL lied about its ad placement, and one can see the transparent motivation behind the fib. They wanted to show that their ad passed muster across the political spectrum by saying that FNC had also approved the ad for airtime. Their willingness to use lies to combat the Roberts nomination should prove instructive for not...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Hate E-Mail Results In Termination

As a result of the commentary that Michelle Malkin has provided on the Cindy Sheehan protests, she has once again received the kind of sexist and racist e-mail that bloggers usually see only from those nutcases who hijack both of those victim classes in order to spew their venom. Sadly and predictably, the lunatics (who do not represent the mainstream Left) focus on Michelle's gender, genitalia, and ethnicity to convince her of the wrongness of her position, which would be laughable if it wasn't so damned predictable and more than a little pathetic. One unpredictable result came from Michelle's decision to publish some examples, complete with headers. Patrick Mitchell, who until today worked at the Los Angeles law firm of Olgletree Deakins, found out that using company e-mail to send hate-filled messages such as "YOU STINK you nasty C*NT! Eat S**t and DIE bitch!!" (asterisks mine) tends to limit one's...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: Why Markets Sometimes Fail

As many of you know, Hugh Hewitt has been on holiday for the past several days. His guest host today (or at least for this first segment) is someone named Jerry-something; I didn't catch the name, and I'm not familiar with him. But he raised an interesting question... one that he seemed incapable of answering, alas, for the answer seems pretty clear to me. He asks the standard question about Iraq: "are we winning?" But he is drawn to the negative response, no we're not, by an interesting line of reasoning: he notes that oil hit a high today, and he deduces (rather, he surmises) that international investors are beginning to be convinced that we're losing and are going to lose. And as he points out, "markets are usually right." But that facile pronouncement at the end is insufficient; it requires deeper thought: why are markets usually right? And under...

Continue reading "Dafydd: Why Markets Sometimes Fail" »

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

9/11 Commission Changes Its Story -- Again (Updates And Bump To Top)

Another day, another story seems to be the containment strategy for the defunct and now discredited 9/11 Commission. The AP reports that the Commission's spokesperson, Al Felzenberg, now admits that the Commission knew full well that the secret Army program Able Danger had identified Mohammed Atta as an al-Qaeda operative along with three other men in Brooklyn, but left it out of their final report: The Sept. 11 commission knew military intelligence officials had identified lead hijacker Mohamed Atta as a member of al-Qaida who might be part of U.S.-based terror cell more than a year before the terror attacks but decided not to include that in its final report, a spokesman acknowledged Thursday. Al Felzenberg, who had been the commission's chief spokesman, said Tuesday the panel was unaware of intelligence specifically naming Atta. But he said subsequent information provided Wednesday confirmed that the commission had been aware of the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Rethinking Prague After Able Danger

The official line espoused (at least for the moment) by the 9/11 Commission for their omission of the Able Danger data-mining project that correctly identified Mohammed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers more than a year prior to 9/11 is that the data supplied by the Army AD intelligence information clashed with what the Commission "knew" about Atta's whereabouts. Spokesman Al Felzenberg told the media that although the Commission lied earlier about not being briefed on Able Danger, they disregarded it for this reason: Al Felzenberg, spokesman for the commission's follow-up project called the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, had said earlier this week that the panel was unaware of intelligence specifically naming Atta. But he said subsequent information provided Wednesday confirmed that the commission had been aware of the intelligence. The information did not make it into the final report because it was not consistent with what the commission knew...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

NARAL Retreats, Blames ... Pretty Much Everyone

After getting criticism for its smear job on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts from even pro-choice politicians, NARAL withdrew its advertisement from circulation this evening. Instead of acknowledging their incredible failure in judgment, NARAL preferred to blame everyone else for failing to recognize their genius: After a week of protests by conservatives, an abortion rights group said Thursday night it is withdrawing a television advertisement linking Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to violent anti-abortion activists. "We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public," she said in a letter Thursday to Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., who had urged the group to withdraw the ad. Specter, himself an abortion-rights supporter as well...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Garbo Gray Lady Speaks!

The New York Times has ended its hermitage in tomorrow's edition by finally reporting on the financial scandal in its own back yard. Alan Feuer reports on the ongoing Air America funding scandal, and manages to make it more boring than a blotter report for a weekly suburban freebie: The state attorney general's office and the city's Department of Investigation are looking into whether a boys and girls club serving poor children and ailing elderly people in the Bronx had improper financial dealings, including loans to the Air America radio network, state and city officials said yesterday. The separate investigations are trying to determine whether the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, run from an office in Co-op City in the Bronx, made improper loans of up to $875,000 to the radio network, known for its liberal programming and hosts like the comedian Al Franken, the officials said. Investigators from...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 12, 2005

The Wall, The White Memo, And The DoD

With the 9/11 Commission reeling from the revelation that it deliberately ignored the information regarding the Army's secret Able Danger program and its identification of Mohammed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers as an al-Qaeda cell, the speculation on their motive for omitting that vital data while blaming the intelligence communities for failing to stop 9/11 has centered on Commissioner Jamie S. Gorelick and her role in building and overstating "the wall", the policy that forbade any hint of cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence operations far beyond the requirements of the FISA statute. The conflict of interest surrounding Gorelick's appointment as Commissioner rather than witness or target in the 9/11 investigation came up during the public hearings in 2004. Senators Jon Cornyn and Kit Bond openly called for her testimony at the time, as did CQ and a number of other bloggers and pundits who also demanded her resignation....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Separatists Demand Independence For Southern Iraq

The political situation in Iraq took a difficult turn while the country awaits the draft constitution from its first popularly-elected Assembly in decades. Shi'ites invoking the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini demanded a secession of southern Iraq in order to form an Iranian-influenced puppet state and used Najaf as the protest staging point: Waving posters of Iran's late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, thousands of chanting Shiite Muslims signaled approval for a call Thursday by their leaders for a separate Shiite federal state in central and southern Iraq. The demand by one of the government's dominant Shiite religious parties, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, came five days before a draft of Iraq's new constitution is due. The call, which triggered immediate protests by Sunni Muslim leaders and some Shiite officials, capped increasingly assertive moves by the party to influence the new Iraq as it takes shape. ... "This was a...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Gloria Wise Not An 'Appropriate Source'?

David Lombino at the New York Sun continues to out-hustle the Paper of Record on the ever-widening scandal at Air America involving the transmission of government grant money from Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club. In his report today, Lombino discovers that Air America lacks confidence in its creditor's legitimacy: A spokesman for Gloria Wise, Jim Grossman of Rubenstein Public Relations, said yesterday Piquant has "agreed in principle to return the money, but there is no schedule and no money back - no timetable." "All they have done is put something in an escrow fund," he said. "Lawyers for Gloria Wise are trying to get this into some formal agreement." Air America contends that Mr. Grossman's characterization is misleading, and that an agreement has been reached between Piquant and the club that includes a timetable for a "voluntary repayment of loans made to Evan Cohen and Progress Media," according to...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

We 'Won' ... Nothing

The Times of London makes a big deal about a favorable ruling yesterday from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which publicly supported the EU-3 in calling for Iran to stop its uranium processing in order to remain in compliance with the non-proliferation pact. Based on the lead, Times readers might believe this to be a significant victory, but the Iranians quickly demonstrated its hollow nature: BRITAIN and its European allies won a diplomatic victory over Iran yesterday when the international community unanimously backed their resolution demanding that Tehran halt work at all its nuclear sites. After three days of intense negotiations, the thirty-five member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supported a text proposed by Britain, France and Germany that expressed serious concern over Irans attempts to restart uranium processing. The resolution called on Iran to halt uranium conversion work at its site near Isfahan, which was...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

A Guide To Able Danger Posts At CQ

In order for CQ readers to access the new posts covering the emerging scandal surrounding the revelations about the Able Danger data-mining project that accurately identified Mohammed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers, I have created a new category for these posts called 9/11 Commission. Here are the posts so far that have gone into this category: 9/11 Cell Identified In 2000 Dafydd: Tangled Webs, Contrasting Countdowns Confirmation Of Able Danger Raises Even More Questions 9/11 Commission Acknowledges Briefing On Able Danger The Second Half Of 9/11 9/11 Commission Changes Its Story -- Again Rethinking Prague After Able Danger The Wall, The White Memo, And The DoD NEW: Another Detail The 9/11 Commission Seems To Have Missed Later on, I will try to update older posts relating to the 9/11 Commission to put them in this same category. This will be a subcategory of the War on Terror category, so...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

E.J. Dionne: Stop The Insanity

E.J. Dionne tries to restore sanity to the Left after watching NARAL squander their public credibility on a smear campaign -- and seeing few of his own side object to it. He gives what looks to be the first severe scolding by an unimpeachable voice on the Left to the pro-abortion contingent for the silence that discredited not just NARAL, but also the main force of the opposition to the nomination of John Roberts for the Supreme Court: Fellow liberals, face it: The advertisement created by NARAL, the abortion rights group that opposes John Roberts's nomination to the Supreme Court, is outrageous. It ties Roberts to people who bombed abortion clinics. If this isn't guilt by association, I don't know what is. ... You can consult FactCheck.org, a Web site run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania -- not a haven for the right-wing conspiracy...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Another Detail The 9/11 Commission Seems To Have Missed (Updated!)

Arrests corroborated by BBC and Reuters. See Update V. Germany has long been known as one of the primary logistical areas for the 9/11 attacks. Mohammed Atta and several of the 9/11 hijackers spent considerable time in Hamburg especially during the recruitment and research effort in 1999 and 2000 before coming to the United States to begin the actual work of preparing the attacks. The 9/11 report contains 75 references to Germany, most of them involving Atta and his team; a search on Hamburg generates 90 hits. Three of the four pilots came from the Hamburg cell (page 242). With all of these references to Germany and Hamburg, the 9/11 Commission oddly failed to include a published report from March 2001 in a Parisian Arabic newspaper, Al-Watan Al-Arabi, about the arrest of two suspected Iraqi spies -- based on a tip from the CIA (boldface mine): Iraqi Spies Reportedly Arrested...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

One More Look At Prague (Updates With Corroboration)

Read the updates for corroborating links. My last post reviews a rather obscure report on the discovery of an Iraqi spy ring in Germany in February or March of 2001, resulting in the capture of two Iraqi Intelligence Services agents. The Arabic newspaper that reported it in March 2001 also reported that the CIA tipped the Germans to the Iraqi operation and that the FBI and CIA interrogated the two captured spies. I looked around for any reporting on this story in the American or British mainstream media (anything in English), even in Nexis, and came up empty. This story may not pan out. However, it apparently has never been denied, and if it is true, one would have expected the CIA and FBI to bring this to the attention of the 9/11 Commission -- or at least the existence of the report itself. The 9/11 report makes no mention...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Commission: Able Danger Only Told Us About Atta

The AP reports tonight that 9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton have changed their story yet again. Now the two say in a joint statement to the press that they do recall hearing that Able Danger had identified Atta, two days after Hamilton categorically denied it -- and for a man who had supposedly never heard of Able Danger, Hamilton's recall of detail of the briefing appears impressive (via Tom Maguire): In a joint statement, former commission chairman Thomas Kean and vice chairman Lee Hamilton said a military official who made the claim had no documentation to back it up. And they said only 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta was identified to them and not three additional hijackers as claimed by Rep. Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees. "He could not describe what information had led to this supposed Atta identification," the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 13, 2005

Able Danger 'Not Historically Significant': Commission

The Washington Post and the New York Times report extensively on the pushback from the 9/11 Commission's two co-chairs after a week of denials, evasions, and the resulting devaluation of their project. The joint statement from Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean minimizes the Able Danger program as not "historically relevant" and that the single source who came to the Commission -- an Navy officer in military intelligence -- did not appear credible. From the Post: The second person, described by the commission as a U.S. Navy officer employed at the Defense Department, was interviewed by senior panel investigator Dieter Snell and another staff member on July 12, 2004, 10 days before the release of the commission's best-selling report. According to the commission, the officer said he briefly saw the name and photo of Atta on an "analyst notebook chart." The material identified Atta as part of a Brooklyn al Qaeda...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: The Exempt Media Coverage

Remember that "phony", "undersourced" story that came from the overactive imaginations of the right wing blogosphere? Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney note today that dozens of newspapers across the country have finally started informing their readers of it -- more than two weeks after it got discovered by the blogs: Despite liberals' insistence that the Air America / Gloria Wise story is "undersourced" and "appears to be phony," the AP article by David Caruso is being carried by dozens of MSM papers, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Baton Rouge Times Picayune, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Myrtle Beach Sun News, Kansas City Star, Tallahassee Democrat, Grand Forks Herald, Bradenton Herald, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Duluth News Tribune, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, philly.com, Biloxi Sun Herald, Monterey County Herald, Fort Wayne News, San Luis Obispo Tribune, Kansas.com, Centre Daily Times, Pioneer Press, Macon Telegraph, Charlotte Observer, Seattle Post Intelligencer, MLive.com, The...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

You Know A Leftist Group Has Jumped The Shark ...

... when the New York Times editorial board takes it to the woodshed. This morning, the Times follows the lead of E.J. Dionne and the Washington Post in condemning NARAL and their attempt to smear Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. They reject NARAL's cancellation of the advertisement as insufficient: Under pressure, Naral Pro-Choice America has withdrawn a cheesy 30-second TV spot unfairly linking Judge John Roberts Jr. with abortion clinic violence. But the episode's sour taste lingers, and it can only make it harder to get senators to pay proper attention during the Supreme Court confirmation process to legitimate concerns about Judge Roberts's approach to issues of personal privacy and reproductive freedom. ... In withdrawing the ad, Naral's president, Nancy Keenan, said that the controversy sparked by the ad had "become a distraction" from the group's effort to educate the public. Lamentably, her statement stopped short of apologizing to Judge...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Justice Sunday II: My Priorities

Trip preparations have kept me busy this morning and mostly away from doing the reading necessary for substantial blogging -- and most of that went into analyzing the 9/11 Commission response from last night. As most of you know, I will live-blog from Justice Sunday II in Nashville, where a number of speakers will rally conservatives to support federal-court nominations of the Bush administration and fight against any filibusters that threaten up-or-down votes in the Senate. JSII is sponsored by the Family Research Council, which has its faith-based interests in mind for this campaign against the filibuster. I am happy to have been invited to this event -- and in the interest of full disclosure, CQ readers should know that JSII has paid for my travel arrangements to and from Nashville, including my air fare and my hotel. As I discussed earlier, without that I would have turned the invitation...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

WMD Found In Iraq

The Washington Post reported while I was in flight to Nashville this afternoon that American troops discoverd over 1500 gallons of chemicals believed to be intended to attack US and Iraqi forces by Islamist terrorists. The warehouse in Mosul had eleven different kinds of precursor agents and appears to have only recently been stocked: Combined, the chemicals would yield an agent capable of "lingering hazards" for those exposed to it, Boylan said. The likely targets would have been "coalition and Iraqi security forces, and Iraqi civilians," in part owing to the difficulty anyone deploying the chemicals would have had in keeping the agents from spreading out over a wide area, he said. Military officials did not immediately identify either the precursors or the agent they could have produced. "We don't want to speculate on any possibilities until our analysis is complete," Col. Henry Franke, a nuclear, biological and chemical defense...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 14, 2005

Dafydd: Contiguationness

I think I think too much. Or maybe everyone else thinks too little. For instance, John "Hindrocket" Hinderaker of Power Line (and the new news and blogs blog Power Line News -- check it out!) added a codicil to a post by Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson (or is that Scott "Big Johnson" Trunk?). The post was about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voting to condemn the Israeli security fence, presumably on the grounds that it might give Israel some security. John added more information which included the following statement from the ELCA: This Churchwide Strategy for ELCA Engagement in Israel and Palestine... describes the fragile hope for a just and peaceful solution that is growing in the region following the recent Palestinian elections. It also expresses a sense of urgency, calling for strong and concerted action so that: 1) the possibility of secure, contiguous, and viable Israeli and...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Former Taliban Reconcile Themselves To Democracy

The Washington Post reports that the amnesty program in Afghanistan continues to show success. Not only have large numbers of former Taliban supporters surrendered themselves to the new, democratic Karzai government, a few of them have reassimilated to the point where they have declared themselves as candidates for elections. The reconstructed former Islamists have had to understand that Afghanis do not want a return to the seventh century as a prerequisite to serious candidacy: "The Taliban are like a medicine for Afghanistan that has expired," said Khaksar, 42, a white-bearded religious scholar who is running in parliamentary elections scheduled for September. "They want people to live like in the time of our Holy Prophet. I am in favor of how he lived, too. But it's impossible to bring that time back. The people of Afghanistan need something new." It was a surprising assessment from a man who was once a...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Starring Kofi Annan As Archie Bunker

The Oil-For-Food scandal at the UN has begun to resemble a hilarious reconception of All In The Family, with yet another nepotistic element of UN corruption. First, OFF gave us the Kofi Annan-Kojo Annan connection to the major OFF contractor Cotecna. Next we found the Alexander Yakovlev connection to his son Dmitry, who got paid big bucks while his dad granted Dmitry's employer large UN contracts. (Alexander also got some cash himself, as he admitted when he pled guilty last week to bribery and corruption charges.) Now the London Times tells us that another Annan has popped up in the Volcker Inquiry's investigation. Investigators have discovered financial connections between Kobina, Kofi's brother, and one of the central OFF figures at the heart of the corruption scandal: THE official investigation into corruption in the 20 billion United Nations oil for food programme is now looking at the brother of Kofi Annan,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Winning Wars That Lose Battles

The people of Kyrgyzstan have successfully and formally completed their first clean democratic election, confirming interim president Kurmanbek Bakiev as their new leader after a popular revolt drove off the autocratic Askar Akayev out of office. The creation of a true democracy in the former Soviet Central Asia republics serves as yet another victory for democratization, but it may come with a price for the Bush administration: Kurmanbek Bakiev has been officially inaugurated as president of Kyrgyzstan, a month after winning the Central Asian state's elections. ... Mr Bakiev, 55, who praised the conduct of the July elections, has said his main goal is to eradicate corruption. He took the oath of office on the country's constitution in front of dignitaries in Bishkek's central square, following a military parade. Mr Bakiev has said he will expect professionalism from members of his government, who he says will serve on the basis...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Commission Response Doesn't Add Up

Tom Maguire and Jim Geraghty have done a fine job this morning dissecting the latest official, four-page response from the 9/11 Commission about the Able Danger program and its supposed identification of Mohammed Atta as an al-Qaeda operative a year before the attacks. Both Tom and Jim believe this response puts the onus back on Curt Weldon and his sources to provide more evidence that refutes Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton. In one sense, that's correct; in fact, I'd say that the onus has never really left Weldon in that he needs to get as much of the facts in the open now as possible. However, I remain deeply skeptical of this latest response, as much for the detail it provides as anything else: On July 12, 2004, as the drafting and editing process for the Report was coming to an end (the Report was released on July 22, and...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Justice Sunday II: More Disclosure ...

In the interest of full disclosure, Lance from Red State Rant picked up the check for lunch before the event today ... Trey Jackson, Joe Carter, and I enjoyed the lunch with Lance from Red State Rant. Lance from Red State Rant assured us that he expects nothing in return for his graciousness and hospitality. I should also mention that Lance from Red State Rant has provided us with transportation while we stay here, and Lance from Red State Rant is one heck of a good host. One has to travel quite a bit before finding folk as terrific as Lance from Red State Rant. So you may hear me mention Lance from Red State Rant often during the live blog, but it isn't because Lance from Red State Rant insisted on it. Trust me....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

JSII Press Conference

3:03 PM CT - We're waiting to get the press conference started -- it should have started a couple of moments ago, but we have had a couple of technical difficulties ... 3:07 - The local Fox affiliate is interviewing Joe Carter while we wait for the press conference to start. 3:12 - Tony Perkins from the FRC opens with his statement and introductions. Rebecca St. James and Chuck Colson are probably the two most well-known names here ... 3:14 - Chuck Colson says he can't understand why the New York Times considers this so controversial. All they want to see is justice, not money or power. The message of justice has always been central to Christianity. He said he thanks God that Martin Luther King fought for justice 40 years ago ... 3:17 - Ted Haggard: When churches stop adhering to the Bible and instead rely on individual interpretations,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: More From Other Sources

Jim Geraghty has more information on Able Danger, apart from Curt Weldon, whose own credibility appears to have suddenly started listing to starboard. Mike Kelly from the Bergen Record got to Weldon's source and started asking questions directly to one of the Able Danger team: A former member of the military intelligence team told me in an interview that it had enough data to raise suspicions. "But we were blocked from passing it to the FBI." The connect-the-dots tracking by the team was so good that it even knew Atta conducted meetings with the three future hijackers. One of those meetings took place at the Wayne Inn. That's how close all this was - to us and to being solved, if only the information had been passed up the line to FBI agents or even to local cops. ... The Able Danger sleuth, whose interview with me was arranged by...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

JSII: The Protestors

No political event can consider itself significant without drawing at least a smattering of protestors. Justice Sunday II drew about twenty of them, mostly quietly marching across the street from the venue. This captured most of them about an hour before the broadcast: There didn't seem to be much enthusiasm for making noise, at least not until we came out with cameras. When I attempted to wish them well and that the heat and humidity wouldn't bother them too much, they responded by yelling, "It's not as hot here in Baghdad, with not enough body armor on!! BRING OUR BOYS HOME!!" No, I'm not kidding. Our hands-down favorite sign on Protest Row showed some hostility towards men with certain health-care issues: Apparently, women can have a choice to have a baby or not, but men can't choose to have an erection. It seems to me that this argument can't stand...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

JSII Live Blog

6:02 - The program kicks off with Dr. Jerry Sutton, who enthusiastically and a bit breathlessly introduces Tony Perkins. "God save the United States and this Honorable Court." Perkins starts by expounding on this traditional opening blessing from the Supreme Court, which then "kicked away" at religious liberties. He also talks about the imposition of a "radical social agenda". None of this sounds very surprising. 6:05 - "We do not claim the right to speak for every American. But we do claim the right to speak." 6:08 - Jim Daly says the ACLU would have protested against the notion of God-given rights had it existed in 1776. Well ... 6:09 - Dr. James Dobson appears on tape -- because he's in France? Hmmm. He speaks about judicial tyranny and how it opposes Lincoln's view of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. His two big complaints...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

JSII: The Press Coverage, Round 1

We just wrapped up Judicial Sunday II, and already the reviews have come in. In fact, one review apparently had already been written by Reuters, seeing as how it got posted at 6:48 PM CT, when we had just about hit the half-way mark of the event. The reporter doesn't offer anythihg terribly substantial, except to note that no one specifically endorsed John Roberts -- which was incorrect: Christian conservative leaders used a "Justice Sunday" rally on Sunday to criticize activist judges but chose not to endorse U.S. President George W. Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, John Roberts. Organizers of the rally, which was co-sponsored by the prominent Christian conservative groups Family Research Center and Focus on the Family, denounced "judicial tyranny" and said they hoped to use the gathering as a "launching pad" to mobilize Christians against judges they say are overriding the Constitution with their decisions. One...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 15, 2005

Iraqi Constitution May Proceed Without Unanimity

The AP reports this morning that Sunni intransigence may result yet again in political irrelevancy for their constituency, at least at the moment. The failure of the expanded Sunni contingent of the committee drafting the new Iraqi constitution to compromise on federalism and other issues has forced the Shi'ite and Kurdish committee members to threaten to send their draft to the National Assembly on a two-thirds vote rather than the unanimous consent that everyone wants: With the deadline for the new constitution just hours away, Shiite and Kurdish leaders signaled they were prepared to submit the draft to parliament Monday even over Sunni Arab objections. Shiite lawmaker Hassan al-Sunnaid said there were "no deadlocks" and that the draft would be submitted to the National Assembly by the evening deadline. After al-Sunnaid spoke, however, Sunni Arab members Kamal Hamdoun and Haseeb Aref said there was no agreement on federalism and...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Obstructionism Blocking Reform Of FBI

The New York Times reports on an increasing tension between Congress and the FBI, souring relations between an otherwise well-regarded Robert Mueller and key decisionmakers. Congress blames Mueller and the FBI bureaucracy for slowing the pace of reforms, but neglects to mention that they have blocked the nominee for a key reform post for the past four months: Disputes between the Justice Department and some of its Congressional allies over the Federal Bureau of Investigation's performance, leadership vacancies and management issues are spurring tensions at a time when the department is seeking to remake its antiterrorism operations. Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, the influential chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an interview on Friday that he was deeply dissatisfied with the pace of reforms at the F.B.I. and that he hoped the national intelligence director's new role in overseeing its terrorism operations would spur greater accountability at...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Saddam Treated Women Better: Howard Dean

Howard Dean gave his opponents another reason to look forward to his television appearances and his supporters another cringe-worthy moment in his interview on Face the Nation yesterday. Dean told CBS viewers that a genocidal Saddam provided a better environment than what he expects will come from a democratic Iraq: Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman who was the hero of his party's anti-war wing before his gaffe-prone 2004 presidential candidacy crashed and burned in Iowa, still doesn't think the Iraqis are better off with dictator Saddam Hussein out of power and in prison. Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation" yesterday, the fiery former Vermont governor said, "It looks like today, and this could change, as of today it looks like women will be worse off in Iraq than they were when Saddam Hussein was president of Iraq." Of course, those mass graves certainly show plenty of evidence that...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

JSII: Belated Thanks

I forgot in my posts about Justice Sunday II to thank the people who put the event together for a job well done, especially in the way they took care of the bloggers. Amber, our primary contact on site with the organizers, went the extra mile to make sure we had power, connectivity, and comfort while we blogged away. Charmaine Yoest graciously liaised between the JSII production and the bloggers, and we all enjoyed spending time with her and her wonderful husband, Jack, and their three children. Charmaine, you did a great job and you were a big part of the reason we all enjoyed ourselves so tremendously during our short period there. What could be better than getting together with fellow bloggers? Especially when those bloggers include Joe Carter from Evangelical Outpost, Trey Jackson, Lance McMurray from Red State Rant, Leon at Redstate, Beth Woodfin at Yeah Right Whatever,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Iraqis Extend The Constitutional Deadline

The Iraqi National Assembly has extended the deadline for the constitution for a week, creating a window for further negotiation but possibly setting precedent for ignoring whatever the committee produces: Iraqi leaders failed to meet a key deadline Monday to finish a new constitution, stalling over the same fundamental issues of power-sharing including federalism, oil wealth and Islam's impact on women that have bedeviled the country since Saddam Hussein's ouster. Just 20 minutes before midnight, parliament voted to give negotiators another seven days, until Aug. 22, to try to draft the charter. The delay was a strong rebuff of the Bush administration's insistence that the deadline be met, even if some issues were unresolved, to maintain political momentum and blunt Iraq's deadly insurgency. "We should not be hasty regarding the issues and the constitution should not be born crippled," said Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite, after the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Harper Shakes Up The Office

Stephen Harper has apparently decided that the status quo has got to go -- along with a few members of his staff. The manager of his political office, chief of staff Phil Murphy, got his walking papers today: Stephen Harper's chief of staff Phil Murphy has been given his walking papers, the latest in a series of aides to resign or be forced out of the troubled office of the Conservative party leader. ... It was officially termed a resignation, but party insiders who spoke on condition of anonymity said Harper made it clear to Murphy that his time was up as right-hand man. "He booted him," said one well-placed source. "And there are going to be more of these changes in the next little while." The Canadian Press story analyzes that the departure of Murphy came for two main reasons: a failure to think strategically and personality conflicts within...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

How Many Bronx Kids Pay For A Private Jet?

The ongoing financing scandal at Air America took a cynical twist in the last twenty-four hours. Brian Maloney, who broke the original story to the blogosphere, now reports that an internal memo from AAR host Randi Rhodes proposes using a private corporate jet to take her and her show to Crawford, Texas -- so that she can take advantage of all the publicity surrounding Cindy Sheehan: Also, transporation is an issue, because it will take me a whole day to travel. I don't want to miss a day on the air, and lose momentum. Flight to Dallas, on to Waco and then to Craford by car. So I was hoping that someone in the company would let me use their jet? I could take Steve with me and leave after Thursday's show. Perhaps I missed something, but Air America and Piquant Media has a debt of almost a million dollars...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 16, 2005

Bill Clinton Rewrites History On Al-Qaeda

Bill Clinton tells New York magazine that he desperately wishes that the FBI had been able to "prove" that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda had masterminded the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 so that he could have attacked Afghanistan instead of George Bush (Newsmax also reports this here): "I desperately wish that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole," Clinton tells New York magazine this week. "Then we could have launched an attack on Afghanistan early." "I dont know if it would have prevented 9/11," he added. "But it certainly would have complicated it. ... "I always thought that bin Laden was a bigger threat than the Bush administration did." Clinton has tried on more than one occasion to adapt history to make his eight-year turn in the White House...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Those Who Fight And Run Away ...

The Democrats have decided that discretion truly is the better part of valor. Faced with a bulletproof candidate and reeling from the fallout of the disgraced smear campaign from one of their most important allies, Senate Democrats plan to offer no more than token oppostion to the confirmation of John Roberts as the next Supreme Court justice: In a series of interviews in recent days, more than a dozen Democratic senators and aides who are intimately involved in deliberations about strategy said that they see no evidence that most Democratic senators are prepared to expend political capital in what is widely seen as a futile effort to derail the nomination. Although they expect to subject President Bush's nominee to tough questioning at confirmation hearings next month, members of the minority party said they do not plan to marshal any concerted campaign against Roberts because they have concluded that he is...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Schroeder Gives Anti-Americanism Another Try

Embattled German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder faces political ruin in the upcoming national elections. His political capital has dissipated in a failed economic reform that Germany desperately needs to transform its sagging socialism, as well as his inept diplomacy with the US and Iran on the non-proliferation pact. With a significant polling deficit looming as the elections near, Schroeder has reached for the one political weapon that saved him in the past -- anti-Americanism: Chancellor Gerhard Schrder used an old theme over the weekend to give a new twist to the current German election campaign, saying he would refuse under any circumstances to allow German troops to be used in any military campaign against Iran. But as several commentators and opposition figures argued Monday, if his abrupt introduction of Iran into the campaign is similar to the tactic he used three years ago in connection with Iraq, the current situation is...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Barbara Boxer Takes Big Money From Fed-Targeted Law Firm

The law blog Independent Sources notes that Barbara Boxer has taken a lot of money from one of the nation's most notorious class-action law firms -- a firm that currently finds itself the target of a federal bribery and corruption probe. Milberg Weiss donated more than $30,000 to her 2004 campaign and over $44,000 in her first Senate campaign -- enough to make Milberg Weiss her fourth-largest contributor for her entire Senate career. Who is Milberg Weiss? Currently one of its former partners is testifying to just that question to a federal grand jury: U.S. prosecutors have stepped up their criminal probe of law firm Milberg Weiss, a specialist in class-action cases, and have given immunity to two former partners at the firm, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The newspaper, citing unspecified lawyers close to the case, said a grand jury in Los Angeles heard secret testimony three...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Martin Named Secessionist To Governor-General Post

Canadian PM Paul Martin faces a daunting polling gap in Quebec, where the popular Giles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois not only control a majority of seats but also align themselves with Martin's nemesis, Conservative Stephen Harper. In an attempt to split Quebeckers, Martin named Michalle Jean to the mostly ceremonial role of Governor-General last month, despite questions about her dual citizenship with France. The move proved popular in Quebec and saw an improvement in the Liberal position. However, whispers that Jean not only has split loyalty but has endorsed the breakup of Canada will soon have Martin tapdancing across the rest of the provinces: Hard-line separatists in Quebec have unearthed quotations by Ms. Jean and Mr. Lafond from a book he wrote in 1993. His statements make clear his unequivocal support for a sovereign Quebec. Ms. Jean's statements are more ambiguous but suggest that she, too, favours the province's...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

John Roberts To Michael Jackson: Beat It

Hugh Hewitt points out this hilarious Dana Milbank article in today's Washington Post which may have played a part in the Democratic decision to moonwalk away from obstructionism on John Roberts. Papers uncovered from the Reagan administration shows that Roberts repeatedly advised the White House to keep their distance from the now-disgraced pop star, avoiding historical embarrassments: Tucked in the thousands of pages of documents released yesterday from Roberts's time in the Reagan White House is a collection of memos by the young lawyer about efforts by Michael Jackson's publicists to get presidential flattery for the Gloved One. Without exception, future judge Roberts voted to overturn. "The office of presidential correspondence is not yet an adjunct of Michael Jackson's PR firm," Roberts wrote in a memo to his boss on June 22, 1984, opposing a request by the singer's publicist for a presidential letter praising the star's work against drunken...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Defending Michelle

UPDATE: Patterico gets results, John Cole gets classy; let's hope this sets a trend.

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Able Danger Fox Trot

A lot of fancy stepping has occurred in the week since the first revelations of the Able Danger data-mining program at the Pentagon. After Douglas Jehl first broke the story in the mainstream media, the Commission first denied ever hearing about anything that identified Atta as an al-Qaeda operative and the existence of Able Danger. They then acknoweledged hearing about Able Danger but nothing about any identification of Atta, with specific denials coming from co-chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean. Within hours, that changed to recognition of the Atta identification coming up in a July 2004 briefing that occurred as the report was being finalized, giving them little opportunity to check out the data. Finally, the Commission generated a breathtakingly detailed rebuttal for a subject on which they had attempted to deny any foreknowledge only days earlier. The 9/11 Commission didn't come alone to the dance, either. Curt Weldon, whose...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: Jews As Canaries In the Coal Mine

Hugh Hewitt had a surprise "guest" on his show today. He got to talking about Cuban cigars, decided to get Dennis Prager on the phone... and then the conversation turned from tobacco to something of more moment -- in fact, to something quite profound. Hugh asked Prager where he thought antisemitism had originated and where it was worst. After responding (a long answer not easily summarized), Dennis said something that truly resonated with me as a secular Jew. This is as near a quotation as I can paraphrase; when the transcript is available, I'll come back here and replace my words with Dennis's. The curse of the Jews, Dennis said, is to be hated by the most evil men of every generation. The Jews are a barometer of hatred, canaries in a coal mine: to find the greatest evil, find the greatest haters of Jews. When the Nazis were the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Tony Schaffer Speaks

The New York Times has a late report tonight on the Able Danger story, as one of Rep. Curt Weldon's sources went public in order to testify to the public about the program. Colonel Tony Shaffer tells Philip Shenon that Able Danger did indeed identify Mohammed Atta as a possible member of an al-Qaeda terrorist cell by mid-2000: Colonel Shaffer said in an interview that the small, highly classified intelligence program known as Able Danger had identified by name the terrorist ringleader, Mohammed Atta, as well three of the other future hijackers by mid-2000, and had tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the F.B.I.'s Washington field office to share the information. But he said military lawyers forced members of the intelligence program to cancel three scheduled meetings with the F.B.I. at the last minute, which left the bureau without information that Colonel Shaffer said might have...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: Bride of Imminent Domain

Sometimes, you almost have to laugh. But it's a nervous sort of laugh, like when your next-door neighbor launches into a tirade about the interstellar aliens who have taken over all the PTAs in the county. It seems... well, I'll let Jonathan O'Connell of the Fairfield County Weekly have the floor: The U.S. Supreme Court recently found that the [City of New London's] original seizure of private property was constitutional under the principal of eminent domain, and now New London is claiming that the affected homeowners were living on city land for the duration of the lawsuit and owe back rent. It's a new definition of chutzpah: Confiscate land and charge back rent for the years the owners fought confiscation. Not only that, but according to O'Connell, the New London Development Corporation (NLDC) is offering compensation for homeowners at the real-estate appraisals of the year 2000! Since there has been...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

NYT: State Warned Clinton In '96 To Stop Bin Laden

The New York Times leads again with another revelation from secret government files about al-Qaeda and the American response to its development into a worldwide organization of terror. In response to a FOIA request, the State Department has declassified internal documents showing that it warned President Bill Clinton to stop Osama bin Laden from relocating to Afghanistan, presciently predicting dire consequences if al-Qaeda established bases among the battle-hardened mujahedin: State Department analysts warned the Clinton administration in July 1996 that Osama bin Laden's move to Afghanistan would give him an even more dangerous haven as he sought to expand radical Islam "well beyond the Middle East," but the government chose not to deter the move, newly declassified documents show. In what would prove a prescient warning, the State Department intelligence analysts said in a top-secret assessment on Mr. bin Laden that summer that "his prolonged stay in Afghanistan - where...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 17, 2005

Air America: Show Al The Money

Michelle Malkin wants to help Al Franken in her new column this week. He recently talked about the revelations of financial malfeasance at his employer, but found it difficult to maintain any interest in the fact that they took money from poor kids and Alzheimer's patients in order to pay his talent fees: The Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club has been duped out of a reported $875,000 meant for poor children and elderly Alzheimer's patients. Evan Montvel-Cohen, the former chairman of the much-hyped liberal radio network Air America, is at the center of the erupting scandal. Air America radio host Al Franken, punctuating his discussion with nervous laughter, called Cohen a "crook" on his show last week and confessed to his left-wing audience that "I think he was robbing Peter to pay Paul." ... Curiously, Air America has shown little interest in urging law enforcement officials to track...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Two Minnesota Politicians Flock To Sheehan's Side

Two Minnesota politicians have announced that they will travel to Crawford to join Cindy Sheehan and join the media circus surrounding her protest. State Senator Becky Lourey joins FBI whistle-blower and Congressional candidate Coleen Rowley to garner some publicity and to take part in Sheehan's grandstanding: Rowley, now a Democratic candidate for Congress, and Sen. Becky Lourey will join a protest initiated by Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey died in Iraq last year. Sheehan started the vigil Aug. 6, coinciding with Bush's summer vacation. She has said she won't leave until the president meets with her. Rowley said Tuesday that she and Lourey would leave Thursday and stay at least through Sunday, sleeping in a tent at the site. They are paying their own way, she said. Lourey's son died in Iraq three months ago in an attack on his helicopter. The theme of the protest does make a certain...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Second White Memo

Deborah Orin and the New York Post have the second memo from Mary Jo White to the Department of Justice, urging them to reconsider the policies put in place by Janet Reno and her deputy Jamie S. Gorelick that effectively barred law enforcement and intelligence operations from sharing data and analyses. White's second missive strongly warned of dire consequences if the US blocked cooperation on national-security issues, a subject with which White had some expertise: PRESIDENT Bill Clinton's team ignored dire warnings that its approach to terrorism was "very dangerous" and could have "deadly results," according to a blistering memo just obtained by The Post. ... "This is not an area where it is safe or prudent to build unnecessary walls or to compartmentalize our knowledge of any possible players, plans or activities," wrote White, herself a Clinton appointee. "The single biggest mistake we can make in attempting to combat...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: CNN And Shaffer

CNN conducted an interview with Col. Tony Shaffer, the DIA liaison officer to the Able Danger operation who has gone public to tell what he knows about the identification of Mohammed Atta as an al-Qaeda terrorist more than a year before 9/11. TKS points out the transcript and some interesting parts of the interview. Shaffer again drives home the point, this time explicitly, that the Commission's response to the story on August 12th was at least wrong, and probably untruthful: S. O'BRIEN: And his [Atta] name pops up? SHAFFER: Well, yes, because terrorists live in the real world. As we recognize from the London bombings, there's a picture of the terrorist in a whitewater rafting trip. They live in the real world just like we do. They plan in the real world. ... S. O'BRIEN: The 9/11 commissioners says they don't recall Mohamed [sic] Atta's name coming up in their...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Delving Into CQ's Secrets!

Two intrepid bloggers delve deeply into the murky depths of Captain's Quarters today. Trey Jackson has a ten-minute video interview with Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost and myself that he conducted during Justice Sunday II. Trey doesn't appear on camera, but that's only in deference to Joe and I, as his matinee-idol good looks would prove too distracting for female viewers. The volume may sound a bit low, so be sure to turn it up a bit when you play it. Speaking of Joe Carter, he conducted a little investigative blogging and discovered the secret of my prolific output. Fortunately, he only has documentary evidence of my evil lackey, Lance McMurray from Red State Rant, for such shameful labor practices. And I don't drink strawberry dacquiris, either -- that was a straight-up double of Tennessee's finest whiskey, pal. Er, if I had been drinking, which I fully deny ......

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Shell Game Implodes

Brian Maloney and Michelle Malkin have covered the sordid mess between Air America and Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, in which $875,000 in government grants wound up in AAR's coffers during a period of extreme financial instability. While taking earmarked grant money from poor kids and Alzheimer's patients provides enough embarrassment for any company, the excuses given by AAR parent Piquant Media that claimed the responsibility for that transaction belonged with the original ownership of AAR caused a number of bloggers to look into the unusual sale of Progress Media to Piquant. Unusual it was indeed, since most of the owners of Progress wound up owning Piquant as well. Now Brian and Michelle have spent the last couple of weeks doing the kind of journalistic research that has eluded the New York Times to discover that the sale has been determined by at least one New York court to...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Germans Uncovered Iraqi Spy Ring During 9/11 Planning (Updates & Bump)

The Daily Standard has just published my latest column, which reveals to those who missed my earlier post on the arrests of two Iraqi spies in Heidelberg during February 2001. The discovery of these agents, especially given the time frame, should set off warning bells about potentially devastating connections to the 9/11 plot: In the years following the 9/11 attacks, there has been much argument about the nature of Saddam Hussein's connections to terror. How could the U.S. government and the 9/11 Commission fail to consider this, given the other activity occurring in Germany during this period: * Mohammed Atta and Ramzi Binalshibh meet in Berlin in January 2001 for a progress meeting, around the same time German counterintelligence claimed that they picked up the Iraqi trail. * Ziad Jarrah, another of the crucial al Qaeda pilots, transits between Beirut and Florida through Germany twice during the 2000-2001 holiday season,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Next Roberts Smear

The AP has taken over where NARAL left off. In their report on John Roberts' upbringing, Tom Coyne and Ashley Heher do everything except paint a white robe and pointy little hat on his head while describing the neighborhood in which his parents raised him: Like many towns across America, the exclusive lakefront community where Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. grew up during the racially turbulent 1960s and '70s once banned the sale of homes to nonwhites and Jews. Just three miles from the nearly all-white community of Long Beach, two days of looting and vandalism erupted when Roberts was 15, barely intruding on the Mayberry-like community that was largely insulated from the racial strife of that era. It was here that the 50-year-old Roberts lived from elementary school until he went away to Harvard in 1973, and that decade as well as the rest of his...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

CQ On The Air Tonight

I will be a guest on The World Tonight radio show in Calgary at 8:30 pm CT tonight, speaking with Rob Breckenridge about Able Danger and the Sheehan stories. That's on AM 770 in the Calgary area, or you can listen on the webstream at the link above. Hope that you can join in!...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 18, 2005

Hugh Hewitt: The Reformation Sails To Starboard

Hugh Hewitt provides an analysis of the rapidly-increasing impact of the blogosphere, and determines that while the Leftist site have floundered, the center-right has expanded its reach and credibility. His Weekly Standard column will certainly prompt a furious debate in the blogs today: While the lefty blogs are helping to push the Democrats over the cliff, the center-right blogs continue to grow in influence and to innovate. Two examples deserve widespread attention. First, let us now praise Day by Day's Chris Muir, the funniest and sharpest three panel political cartoonist at work in America today. Muir's timeliness and productivity have created a large audience for him online, which is growing wider and wider as new blog consumers arrive in record numbers. Many bloggers routinely cite or even carry the Muir strip of the day (an innovation I first noticed at Captain's Quarters), and Muir's popularity further strengthens the center-right blogosphere's...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: The Sun Rises Again, And Again, And Again

The one newspaper that has consistently covered the Air America/Piquant Media financial scandal has been the New York Sun and its reporter, David Lambino. Today he follows up on the revelations contained in the investigative report by Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney posted yesterday on Michelle's blog: A lawsuit filed by an owner of radio stations claims that the transfer of ownership of the Air America radio network from Progress Media to Piquant LLC in May 2004 was a "sham" intended to maintain the network's assets while deceiving its creditors, according to documents posted on a blog yesterday. In the suit, which was filed in state Supreme Court at Manhattan in May, Multicultural Radio Broadcasting, a radio station owner with affiliates across the country, is seeking more than $255,000 it claims it is owed by the current owners of Air America, Piquant LLC. Multicultural's complaint, as posted on the blog...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Kean Punts

Thomas Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, has once again changed directions on the Able Danger program. As the New York Times reports this morning, the effect of Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer going public with his Able Danger information has forced Kean to punt the entire mess back to the Pentagon, backing away from last Friday's detailed defense of the Commission's dismissal of the intelligence: The chairman of the Sept. 11 commission called on the Pentagon on Wednesday to move quickly to evaluate the credibility of military officers who have said that a highly classified intelligence program managed to identify the Sept. 11 ringleader more than a year before the 2001 attacks. He said the information was not shared in a reliable form with the panel. The chairman, Thomas H. Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, offered no judgment about the accuracy of the officers' accounts. But...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: More Sources Forthcoming?

Deborah Orin continues her coverage of Able Danger, rivalling that of the cross-town Times which initially broke the story, with an interesting and somewhat contradictory follow-up with the first public source, Col. Tony Shaffer. Shaffer points out that he initially did not know that Able Danger had specifically identified Atta prior to 9/11, but did know that al-Qaeda agents had been identified as such: Shaffer said Atta's name didn't ring a bell when he learned the hijackers' names after 9/11. But he got "a sinking feeling in my stomach" when the woman Ph.D. in charge of Able Danger's data analysis told him Atta was one of those who had been identified as a likely al Qaeda terrorist by Able Danger. "My friend the doctor [Ph.D.] who did all the charts and ran the technology showed me the chart and said, 'Look, we had this, we knew them, we knew this.'...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Garbo Gray Lady Speaks Again!

After apparently receiving a number of e-mails and letters regarding the New York Times' almost-total noncoverage of the Air America/Gloria Wise funding scandal, the public editor has published a response on his forum. Byron Calame, who recently took over the position from the Times' first ombudsman Daniel Okrent, acknowledges that the Times has not kept up with the story -- but blames disorganization rather than bias: Readers of The Times were poorly served by the paper's slowness to cover official investigations into questionable financial transactions involving Air America, the liberal radio network. The Times's first article on the investigations finally appeared last Friday after weeks of articles by other newspapers in New York and elsewhere. ... "We were slow in the first place and need to do more," Rick Berke, an associate managing editor at The Times, told me Monday. While it's no excuse for such a belated response to...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Another 72-Virgins Moment In Saudi Arabia

Saudi security forces found and killed another al-Qaeda leader in the desert kingdom today. The Saudis conducted a series of seven raids, the last of which turned up Saleh Mohammed al-Aoofi, whom they killed in a gun battle: Al-Qaida's leader in Saudi Arabia was killed Thursday during clashes with police in the western city of Medina, the Interior Ministry said. Saleh Mohammed al-Aoofi was among six al-Qaida militants reported killed during police raids on numerous locations in the holy city and the capital, Riyadh, security officials told The Associated Press. Al-Aoofi, a Saudi in his late 30s, and another militant were killed during one of seven police raids in Medina, the Interior Ministry said. The Saudis have done a remarkable job in cleaning up al-Qaeda leadership since AQ attacked foreigners in Riyadh in May 2003. Shortly after that attack, the Saudis listed 26 known terrorist leaders wanted by their security...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Canadians Rejecting Exclusive Single-Payor Health Care

Earlier this year, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down the ban on private health insurance in Quebec due to an inability of the province to deliver timely health care. Now the Canadian Medical Association argues that the ban should be revoked throughout the country, and for much the same reasons: All Canadians should have the right to buy private health insurance to complement their care in the medicare system, the country's leading doctors' group says. The Canadian Medical Association said, in essence, that a recent Supreme Court of Canada judgment, which struck down a ban on private health insurance in Quebec because patients were not ensured timely access to care, should apply to all Canadians. In doing so, the CMA, which represents the country's 62,000 doctors, also clearly rejected the notion yesterday that there should be a medicare monopoly. It did so just one day after doctors gave their backing...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The German Connection: More Threads (Updated!)

Thanks to CQ reader Elly in Australia, we have a couple of more threads from which to work on the arrests of Iraq spies in Germany during the same period that the 9/11 team leaders traveled through that country. She finds two German reports still available from the time of the arrests (March 1, 2001). The first, from Berliner Kurier, provides just a headline/flash report. The second, which Elly translates, gives more speculation than background: Berlin Newspaper (Berliner Zeitung) Two Iraqis on remand on suspicion of espionage Federal Prosecutor's office accuses them of acting as intelligence agents / no details on the background to the arrest Berlin, March 1 (2001). The Federal prosecutor's office has had two Iraqi men arrested on Sunday and Tuesday of this week. They stand under urgent suspicion of espionage activity, the Prosecutor's Office explained on Thursday. On the background to the arrests no information was...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: An Atta By Any Other Name

The Able Danger argument du jour is whether the group actually had Mohammed Atta's name, or whether they had "merely" identified his al-Qaeda cell in Brooklyn... as if that makes all the difference. Oh, well, if they didn't have his actual name, then busting up the cell and arresting everyone wouldn't have made any difference, right? That cell contained not only Atta but several other eventual 9/11 hijackers. If the FBI had gotten the information, they would -- one hopes -- have surveilled the cell and eventually broken it up. Atta would have either been captured with the rest or forced to flee with a manhunt on his heels; he likely would have used one of his many aliases to flee the country. He may have been caught, or he may have ended up in Iraq. Because of the cell structure of al-Qaeda, the other hijackers left in the United...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: More Shell Games

In the first part of the multiple-installment series by Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney, the pair expose Air America's transfer of ownership between original parent firm Progress Media and current owners Piquant Media as little more than a shell game. In part II, the two show that the shell game may not have ended with the first allegedly fraudulent conveyance: On July 21, 2005, a standing room-only crowd of Democrats filled a Highland Park, Illinois, public library conference room to hear two local businesspeople talk about their company and its future plans. The attraction? These weren't your everyday corporate suits: it featured Sheldon and Anita Drobny, who last year put Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo on their upstart liberal Air America talk radio network. Hearing about their "success" was surely appealing. ... Sheldon's wife Anita took to the podium to spill the beans about Nova M Radio. Disclosing Air America's...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 19, 2005

Air America: The Bill Gets Bigger As We Speak

David Lombino continues his coverage of the Air America financial scandal, advancing the story in parallel to the extraordinary efforts of Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney. Lombino reports in today's New York Sun that Piquant Media's bill from Multicultural Radio far exceeds the $225K described in the investigative report by the bloggers, and in fact now exceeds a million dollars: An attorney whose client is suing the Air America radio network said yesterday that the May litigation is part of a larger attempt by the client, an owner of radio stations, to collect more than $1.5 million it says it is owed. ... The lawsuit filed by MultiCultural in May charges that the transfer of ownership of Air America to Piquant LLC from Progress Media in May 2004 was illegal and was intended only to maintain the network's assets while abandoning its creditors. "It's called a fraudulent conveyance - same...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Terrorist Attack On US Navy Misses Target

Terrorists launched a missile attack on American Navy amphibious craft from the 5th Fleet, but missed and hit a warehouse instead, killing at least one Jordanian: Unknown assailants fired at least three missiles from Jordan early Friday, with one narrowly missing a U.S. Navy ship docked at port, an attack that killed a Jordanian soldier. One missile fell close to an airport in neighboring Israel, officials said. The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, said two American amphibious ships were docked in Aqaba when a mortar was fired toward them. The vessels later sailed out of port as a result of the attacks, U.S. Navy spokesman Lt. Cdr. Charlie Brown told The Associated Press in Bahrain. Jordanian soldier Ahmed Jamal Saleh was fatally wounded when the mortar sailed over one of the U.S. ships and slammed into a warehouse, a Jordanian security official said on condition of anonymity because...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Abdullah Sees Elections In Saudi Arabia In Next Decade

The Washington Times reports that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia wants to work towards tranforming the desert kingdom from an absolute monarchy to an elected, representative government over the next ten to fifteen years. Abdullah, whose mildly pro-Western stewardship over the last ten years of his brother's reign turned serious after the Riyadh bombings of May 2003, hals already authorized municipal elections and has pardoned constitutionalists that his brother had held as political prisoners: Saudi King Abdullah promised Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a series of reforms that could give the desert kingdom an elected government within 10 to 15 years, says a senior U.S. official who was present when the two met in June. "He professed to transform his country and talked about having a representative government within a decade or a decade and a half," said the official, who asked not to be named. The 82-year-old king made...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dogs And Cats, Living Together

A news report on John Roberts and an editorial by Ted Kennedy in today's Washington Post has Bench Memos rightly up in arms today. Both breathlessly use general language and out-of-context snippets to paint Roberts as a women-hostile idealogue who would repeal the 19th Amendment if the Court had the power to do so. In fact, Kennedy's essay relies so much on generic assertions of his own opinion as fact that its incoherence renders it almost moot, even without the Bench Memos rebuttals: Specifically, and contrary to the intent of overwhelming majorities in both the House and the Senate, it appears that Roberts proposed a very narrow and crabbed interpretation of the Voting Rights Act that would essentially eviscerate the meaning of that law. Fortunately, his view did not prevail. But if a nominee to the Supreme Court believes in such a strained and narrow interpretation of such a fundamental...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

9/11 Updates: Able Danger And A New Memo

The full-court press continued on discovering why the Able Danger project did not get any attention or mention from the 9/11 Commission, and the State Department has discovered another memo that the Commission overlooked. Fox News reports that the Senate will consider open hearings on Able Danger as Col. Tony Shaffer traveled to Capitol Hill today to brief their staffers on what he knew about the project: The military intelligence official who first spoke publicly about Able Danger, the pre-Sept. 11 task force looking for terror threats to the United States, went to Capitol Hill Thursday to brief staffers who work for Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. A congressional source told FOX News that hearings could be in the cards this fall over Able Danger's findings and its omission from the Sept. 11 commission's report issued last year. Neither Specter's office nor Lt. Col. Tony...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: The Sun Rises To The Occasion

I received this e-mail earlier today from Maggie Shnayerson, the communications manager for the New York Sun -- the one newspaper in the Empire State (or almost anywhere else) that has devoted a reporter to ongoing news coverage of the Air America financial scandal: Hi Ed, Because of the high demand for access to the Suns Air America stories, we have decided to put together a special web page containing the entire series. I have included a free link to the site created for you and your readers. Enjoy! http://www.nysun.com/airamerica.php Best, Maggie Shnayerson Communications Manager The New York Sun Now you can follow their excellent Air America coverage for free -- and perhaps that might convince you to subscribe, as I do, to their on-line newspaper. Ira Stoll and the rest of the Sun's team puts together an excellent weekday newspaper that features some of the best and most fearless...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: Jamie Gorelick's Other Job (Update From Captain Ed)

A commenter, vnjagvet (does that stand for Vietnam JAG veteran?), on my previous post, Dafydd: An Atta By Any Other Name, discovered a very interesting and provacative connection between the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense (under the Clinton administration) that may have a very strong bearing on the Able Danger scandal. As noted earlier by many, many people, Jamie Gorelick, who was deputy attorney general (number two in the department) under Janet Reno, is widely credited, if that's the word I want, with explicating the wall of separation between intelligence and criminal investigations in a 1995 memo to FBI Director Louis Freeh and U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White. From the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com, Gorelick's Wall: (paid subscription probably required) At issue is the pre-Patriot Act "wall" that prevented communication between intelligence agents and criminal investigators--a wall, Mr. Ashcroft said, that meant "the old national intelligence system...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Another AP Smear On Roberts

The AP attempts to assist the Left in their next big smear against John Roberts as a male chauvinist pig. It started this morning with the Washington Post's ridiculous "analysis" of Roberts' record of commentary on comparable worth, a long-discredited line of thought that the Post misrepresented as "a curb on workplace discrimination against women" when in fact it does nothing to change hiring practices, but instead puts government in charge of setting wages. Now Hope Yen has found another snippet out of a Roberts memo that they will claim attacks Sandra Day O'Connor, who Democratic Senators recently discovered as an unrecognized saint of modern jurisprudence: As a lawyer in the Reagan White House, John Roberts scoffed at the notion of elevating Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to chief justice as a way to close a political gender gap, calling it a "crass political consideration." ... "Many of the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Prayers For Harry Reid

CQ will add the Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), to our prayer list this evening. The Democratic caucus leader suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a type of mini-stroke which usually leaves no permanent damage: The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, suffered a brief mini-stroke Tuesday but suffered no complications and feels fine, aides said Friday. The 65-year-old minority leader, one of the Democratic party's most visible national leaders, was examined by doctors and now feels fine, his press secretary Tessa Hafen said. "There are no complications or any restrictions on his activities. He has undergone evaluations this week, and his doctors have recommended that he take advantage of the summer congressional recess for some downtime," Hafen said. All partisan politics aside, I understand what Senator Reid's family must be feeling tonight. A week before the First Mate's kidney transplant, she suffered a TIA -- actually, a...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: She Does Not Speak For Them

Please note: this post is by Dafydd ab Hugh, not by Captain Ed. I speak only for myself, as we all should; I don't know how the Captain feels about this. Just bear it in mind. Whenever anyone has the temerity to object to anything Cindy Sheehan says, no matter how objectively bizarre, unAmerican, and repugnant it may be, the usual suspects jump on chairs, pull up their skirts, and howl that criticism of any kind against Mrs. Sheehan is forbidden unless you, too, have lost a child in the Iraq War. This is one of the weasel clauses (number four, in fact) noted by Tom Bevan over on Real Clear Politics that are used to stifle opposition to the Left's opposition. (The actual permalink is here; but at the moment, you get a server error. It's the top item in the regular Commentary page, but eventually, you should use...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Coming Smear In Box 31?

As part of the Hugh Hewitt effort to review the papers of John Roberts from the Reagan Library, Radioblogger assigned me Box 31 - Laws of War. Hugh and Duane sent me the PDF file for this set of records containing the thoughts and opinions of John Roberts on this topic during the Reagan administration, looking for potential issues that might come up in Roberts' confirmation. At first glance, the file appeared to have little substance in it at all. Most of the records consisted of lists of meeting attendees and cover sheets. Only one memo contained anything of note -- but considering the current war on terror, I predict that this one file may well wind up getting twisted into an argument against Roberts. On May 8, 1985, John Roberts prepared a memo for Richard Hauser for a response to a NATO request about US intentions for proposed changes...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 20, 2005

Air America: Stiffing The Talent (And The Union)

The third installment in the investigative blog series by Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney covers the litigation arising from former host and programmer Lizz Winstead, the first of the 'talent' to join Air America well before its launch. Winstead also has the distinction of being the first host they fired after the Piquant fraudulent conveyance buyout. At the time it raised a few eyebrows; after all, the ratings for "Unfiltered" couldn't have been that much worse than the rest of the AAR lineup. The counterclaims filed by Winstead and Piquant Media clear up quite a bit of the mytery, as Michelle and Brian point out: On May 20, 2005, comedian Lizz Winstead filed suit in New York, detailing a laundry list of allegations against Air America Radio parent Piquant LLC. Accusing the company of failing to pay wages, promotional fees, accrued holiday compensation and severance, Winstead is seeking $290,716, plus...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

'Al-Qaeda Brought The Matches'

After getting the silly e-mail responses from Think Progress' readers, most of whom had failed to even read any CQ posts on the subject of Jamie Gorelick or the wall that discouraged any coordination between law enforcement and intelligence operations prior to the Patriot Act, I received a handful from former members of the intel community. One of the more comprehensive came from a CQ reader whom I will call Big Sea. (Anonymity, in this case, is my idea, not the source.) Big Sea writes about his experiences in several intelligence agencies, which span from the Reagan era to post-9/11. It's long but a must read: From 1984 until 2002, I worked as a contractor doing mainly threat assessment and projection for most of the USG intelligence services but primarily CIA, DIA, Air Force and ONI. I assert that the main point about the Wall is that it was not...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger Fox Trot II: What Was Said In October 2003?

Col. Tony Shaffer's appearance on Hannity and Colmes last night on Fox has people on all sides of the Able Danger thread scratching their heads. Initial news reports about this interview claim that Shaffer denied naming Atta to the Commission staffers in October 2003. However, it appears that Shaffer said he didn't discuss the names of any other hijackers except Atta, as that was the only name he could recall at the time. The transcript from the show has already been posted, and Shaffer tries to make this point clear (emphases mine): COLMES: Lieutenant Colonel, explain to me, how is it they deny it? They also staff members, like executive director Phil Zelikow, say, despite your statements, they were not told the names of these hijackers, as you claim? SHAFFER: Well, I don't know how they can overlook that, because the fact is this: They were told not once...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Brian Maloney On NARN

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will have Brian Maloney on later during the show. We'll be discussing the ongoing scandal at Air America and the coverage of it by Brian and Michelle Malkin. Catch it on our webstream at AM 1280 The Patriot, and join the conversation right now at 651-289-4488!...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: the Gentle Spear of Box 9

As part of Hugh Hewitt's quixotic quest to review the trillions of pages of infodump on John Roberts, I was assigned Box 9 -- the Barry Box. (Like the Captain, my assignment came not from Sir Hugh hughmself but from his scribe and factotum and all-around varlet, Duane the Radioblogger.) This portion of Box 9 comprises a long and tedious negotiation between the D.C. Council and Mayor Marion Barry, jr. on the one side and Congress, the Justice Department, and the White House Counsel's office on the other over what was to be done about the District of Columbia Self Government and Governmental Reorganization Act of 1983 -- which Assistant Attorney General Robert A. McConnell injudiciously kept referring to as "the Home Rule Act," conjuring up visions of the British Raj finally ceding authority to its various colonies in Africa and Inja, don'tcha know. Rawther. After the Act was enacted...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 21, 2005

A (Not-So-) Small Act Of Heroism

A few decades ago, when rare acts of senseless violence broke out on our streets, one expected the men in the area to protect any women and children from harm as best they could. Chivalry and social mores required it, and such action did not seem remarkable in the least. Today, when street violence has become so routine, one rarely hears of anyone who puts themselves at risk to protect anyone else, regardless of age and gender. The weapons in use and the regularity of the attacks have eroded that sense of chivalry, it seems. Perhaps not entirely. In a short article from the New York Times, a 13-year-old boy in Brooklyn may have saved a young girl's life after she got shot in a crossfire, taking a bullet in the back: A gunman fired shots in the direction of a group of people sitting in front of a building...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Unbalanced Coverage Of An Unbalanced Protest

Patterico gets an op-ed in today's LA Times, as part of their "Outside the Tent" series of external criticism. He focuses on the coverage provided by the LAT on the Sheehan protest in Crawford, a scolding that applies to more outlets than just California's largest daily: The Times uncritically reported Sheehan's claim that the president had behaved callously in a June 2004 meeting with her and her husband, refusing to look at pictures of Casey or listen to stories about him. The Times claimed without qualification that Sheehan "came away from that meeting dissatisfied and angry." But the article failed to mention that Sheehan had previously described Bush as sincere and sympathetic in the meeting. According to an interview with her hometown paper, the Vacaville Reporter, Sheehan had said that although she was upset about the war, she decided not to confront the president who clearly left a favorable...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Saddam Declares His Martyrdom ... For Palestine?

Saddam Hussein continues to attempts to cast himself as an Arab martyr despite evidence that he may have killed more Arabs than any one figure in history. In a letter to the dwindling faithful, Saddam now offers himself as a sacrifice for Palestine, of all places: Facing trial soon on charges he massacred fellow Muslims, Saddam Hussein purportedly vowed in a letter published Sunday to sacrifice himself for the cause of Palestine and Iraq, and he urged Arabs to follow his path. ... "My soul and my existence is to be sacrificed for our precious Palestine and our beloved, patient and suffering Iraq," the letter said. ... "Life is meaningless without the considerations of faith, love and inherited history in our nation," the letter said. "It is not much for a man to support his nation with his soul and all he commands because it deserves it since it has...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Rich 'Swiftboats' Himself Into Irrelevancy

Rarely does a columnist for a national news outlet publish a piece as intellectually bankrupt as Frank Rich's entry today in the New York Times. The only item in the column that has full engagement with the truth is this single, lonely statement: Nicholas D. Kristof and David Brooks are on vacation. Otherwise, Rich engages in transparent sophistry that must be fisked to be believed. First Rich decries the supposed character assassination of Cindy Sheehan by engaging in the same tactic himself: Once Ms. Sheehan could no longer be ignored, the Swift Boating began. Character assassination is the Karl Rove tactic of choice, eagerly mimicked by his media surrogates, whenever the White House is confronted by a critic who challenges it on matters of war. The Swift Boating is especially vicious if the critic has more battle scars than a president who connived to serve stateside and a vice president...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Box O' Roberts #8: Will DC Home Rule Trip Up Roberts?

My next assignment from the Hugh Hewitt/Radioblogger effort to parse the document dump from the Reagan Library gives us a look at the arcane but politically potent issue of home rule for the District of Columbia. One could hardly select a less "sexy" topic for research regarding the confirmation of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, but given the proximity and the sensitivity of DC home rule to the Senate, it could provide for some inside-the-beltway debate in the upcoming hearings. The issue of home rule has had its partisan overtones, given the overwhelming Democratic advantage in DC, and that might influence a Senator or two to carefully peruse Roberts' writings on the subject. My portion of Box 8 contains some provocation for debate, although nothing terribly explosive. The Reagan administration asked Roberts to review issues surrounding the Chadha decision by the Supreme Court, negating the one-house legislative veto on...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Movie Review: The Great Raid

The First Mate and I decided that we would follow the recommendations of our friends in the blogosphere and see The Great Raid. The R-rated war film tells the largely-unknown story behind the raid on the Japanese POW camp near Cabanatuan in the Phillipines. By January 1945, the Japanese had begun to understand that the war had mostly been lost. The American advance had finally included Luzon, and even the bushido code of the Japanese fighters could not withstand the American Marines and soldiers that clawed their way onto island after island, dismembering the vast Japanese empire that they had thought would never fall. In response, the Japanese started liquidating POW camps, afraid that their POW practices would get exposed, risking war-crimes trials for their entire leadership. The opening sequence shows 150 American POWs getting burned to death by a Japanese death squad charged with eliminating any witnesses to their...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Sachi: So Who Does Cindy Sheehan Speak For?

Ever since Cindy Sheehan started protesting in Crawford Texas, the mainstream media has been portraying her as the voice of grieving mothers. She has absolute moral authority, as Maureen Dowd of New York Times, puts it. Newspaper articles and television shows claimed that a flock of people, including parents who lost children in Iraq, had gathered in Crawford, Texas to show their support for Sheehan. According to AP, "By Thursday, about 50 people had joined her cause, pitching tents in muddy, shallow ditches and hanging anti-war banners; two dozen others have sent flowers." On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, the announcer said "Within days, the numbers grew along this Texas roadside. Other parents who had lost sons and daughters to the war, seasoned antiwar protesters, ... all made Cindy's cause their own." Surprisingly though, neither of these two sources showed any grieving mother (or father) who supported Sheehan. Don't get...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 22, 2005

The Coming Democratic Split?

While the media has focused on the low polling numbers for George Bush in recent weeks and have their analysts working overtime talking about how that could result in election setbacks in 2006 and 2008, scant attnetion has been cast on the Democrats and their inability to take advantage of the situation. Two articles in two different newspapers explain why the opposition cannot gain traction on Republican setbacks, as the Democrats continue to struggle through a ferocious power struggle fed by their DNC chief and the radical activists that back him. The Washington Post and the New York Times picks up on this battle, but look at it superficially in terms of specific issues rather than as the gestalt of the party itself. Both articles get headlines that start, "Democrats Split," but the Post looks at the war while the Times analyzes Democratic strategy on the Roberts nomination. The Post...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Team Members Spoke With Reporters

The Washington Times reports that although Col. Tony Shaffer remains the only person connected to Able Danger to willingly part with anonymity, several other sources met with the press on August 8 when the story went public, including members of the AD team. The meetings with reporters came with the explicit blessings of key Congressmen and the "tacit" approval of the Pentagon, Shaffer says: House Republican leaders approved in advance plans by a military intelligence official to go public with details of a top-secret Pentagon project code-named Able Danger. ... "I spoke personally to Denny Hastert and to Pete Hoekstra," Col. Shaffer said. Mr. Hastert, Illinois Republican, is speaker of the House, and Mr. Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "I was given assurances by [them] that this was the right thing to do. ... I was given assurances we would not suffer...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

NDP Splits With Liberals: Radio Canada

Radio Canada reports in its French-language news service that Jack Layton and the NDP have abandoned their partnership with Paul Martin and the Liberals, just two months after winning a major tax concession in exchange for propping up Martin during the Adscam scandal (via CQ reader SpaceNeedleBoy): Le chef du Nouveau Parti dmocratique, Jack Layton, a confirm au quotidien Le Devoir, que l'alliance entre sa formation politique et les libraux de Paul Martin tait termine. In other words -- c'est fini. If this gets confirmed, the Liberals will suddenly be vulnerable to a Tory/BQ no-confidence motion as soon as Parliament comes back into session. The Liberals may have avoided the axe in May and June, but they have not capitalized on their political manuevering at all. Their national polling has them stuck at the mid-30s, a number which clearly gets them short of a Commons majority. Without a legislative partner,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Gorelick Wall Encompassed Defense, CIA, And State (Updated!)

One of the arguments at places like Think Progress and other sites which have made themselves the defenders of former Deputy AG Jamie Gorelick consists of pointing out that Gorelick didn't work at the DoD when she erected the "wall" separating intelligence and law enforcement operations. Therefore, they argue, she had no effect on the DIA's decision not to share information with the FBI. As I pointed out earlier, that argument fails for two reasons. The first is Gorelick's earlier assignment at the DoD as general counsel for ten months, during which one supposes she promulgated Bill Clinton's policies as the top attorney at Defense just as she did later at Justice. The second, and most obvious, is that as the number-two person at Justice, she still set policy for the FBI. Since sharing and cooperation require two parties to work together, her wall would have made any attempt to...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Sunnis May Miss The Boat Again

Another deadline approaches for the Iraqis to create a draft constitution for approval by the National Aassembly, and this time the Shi'a and the Kurds do not intend to let Sunni intransigence to derail the process. A broad agreement on the text has apparently been reached between secular and religious Shi'ite factions and the Kurds, while the Sunnis who have dragged their feet during the entire process now want unanimity before it goes to the Assembly: A Shiite negotiator said Monday a draft constitution would be presented to Iraq's parliament, but a key Sunni Arab delegate said talk of a deal was premature and he doubted an agreement was possible by the midnight deadline. ... One of the top Sunni Arab negotiators, Saleh al-Mutlaq, told Al-Arabiya television that he was "surprised by these statements" from the Shiites. "There are still major points of disagreement," al-Mutlaq said. "I don't think we...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Pentagon Can't Find Data

The Pentagon has provided its official response to the revelations made almost two weeks ago by Curt Weldon, Col. Tony Shaffer, and Able Danger staff that alleges that the US Army team had identified four of the 9/11 hijackers as possible al-Qaeda operatives a year before the attacks. According to spokesman Larry Di Rita, no one at the Pentagon can find that specific data: The Pentagon has been unable to validate claims that a secret intelligence unit identified Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta as a terrorist more than a year before the attacks, a Defense Department spokesman said Monday. Larry Di Rita said that some research into the matter continues, but thus far there has been no evidence that the intelligence unit, called "Able Danger," came up with information as specific as an officer associated with the program has asserted. "What we found are mostly general references to terrorist cells,"...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

And Now, Insanity Corner With Pat Robertson

When conservatives want to find something juicy to fisk, we turn to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. When liberals want to do the same, they turn to Pat Robertson, who fulfills much the same role as the Strib as a fount of barking idiocy. Today, score one for the port side of the blogosphere, as Media Matters notes Robertson's latest insanity on Hugo Chavez. On today's 700 Club, Robertson endorses the assassination plot that sprang from Chavez' overactive imagination (emphases mine): ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Second Source Sheds Anonymity, Confirms Shaffer

The second source for the Able Danger story, the somewhat mysterious Navy captain that tried to get the 9/11 Commission to look into the data-mining project at the last minute, has shed his anonymity and pushed the ID of Mohammed Atta even earlier than first thought. Captain Scott Philpott now says that Able Danger identified Atta as an al-Qaeda operative in January-February 2000 (h/t: CQ readers Bill and and Eddy B): The officer, Scott J. Phillpott, said in a statement today that he could not discuss details of the military program, which was called Able Danger, but confirmed that its analysts had identified the Sept. 11 ringleader, Mohamed Atta, by name by early 2000. "My story is consistent," said Captain Phillpott, who managed the program for the Pentagon's Special Operations Command. "Atta was identified by Able Danger by January-February of 2000."The officer, Scott J. Phillpott, said in a statement today...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Did They ID Atta Before He Got Here?

One of the reasons why the 9/11 Commission claim they dismissed the information regarding Able Danger is because the claims made by Col. Tony Shaffer and Captain Scott Phillpott did not match the known travel timeline for Mohammed Atta. That timeline had Atta arriving for the first time in the US in June 3, 2000, on a flight from Prague to Newark. However, according to Shaffer, he recalled seeing Atta on a chart as early as spring 2000, and Phillpott today said that Able Danger ID'd Atta in January-February 2000. That poses an interesting question. If the Commission timeline holds up, could Able Danger have ID'd Atta as an AQ operative while he was still overseas? Or did the 9/11 Commission use faulty data to construct a completely incorrect timeline for Atta? The Commission report gives the following data for Atta's travel during the early months of 2000 (page 167-168...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 23, 2005

Able Danger: Pentagon Backlash Tries To Undermine Credibility

The Pentagon continued its attempted public-relations recovery after almost two weeks of remaining silent on the Able Danger revelations. After issuing its official statement, spokesman Larry Di Rita spoke out on Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer and their inability to find the records he claimed to have produced (via The American Mind): "We have been very aggressive," Mr. Di Rita told The Washington Times. "We haven't been able to find anything that would corroborate the kind of detail Lt. Col. Shaffer and Congressman Weldon seem to recall." ... "We have to wonder whether [the chart] did exist," Mr. Di Rita said. "It's a bit of a phantom search here." Mr. Zaid said Col. Shaffer was on active duty when working as a liaison between the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency and the Able Danger team. He then became a civilian analyst at DIA. He was suspended in March 2004. The DIA is...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

WaPo Trots Out The Chickenhawk Smear (Update)

The Left has tried for months now to smear supporters of the war as "chickenhawks", people who encourage the war but do not want to fight it themselves. On its face, this rejects the entire notion of civilian control over the military and foreign policy. It also assumes a callousness on the part of those who advocate for military action when needed, that men and women somehow hold no value to us as Americans unless they happen to be us. Such personal attacks completely avoid having to argue the merits and disadvantages of military action as opposed to other strategies, reducing the intellectual level of the anti-war advocates to mindless namecalling. Unfortunately, the Washington Post joins that crowd with a laughable look at recruitment by Terry Neal. Neal deduces that middle-class and wealthy parents, all of whom he assumes vote Republican, go out of their way to keep military recruiters...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Zarqawi Network Claims Jordanian Attack

The spokesman for the Zarqawi/al-Qaeda network in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack last week on two American Navy amphibious craft, rocket attacks that missed their targets and killed a Jordanian military officer instead: The Internet statement was signed Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, the spokesman for Al-Qaida in Iraq. That group is headed by the Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, blamed for a rash of kidnappings, killings and attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq. Jordan said Monday it had arrested a Syrian, one of four men allegedly involved in the attack. The captured man's two sons and the Iraqi leader of the group were believed to have escaped to Iraq, officials in the Jordanian capital said. The Jordanian statement said the four were part of an Iraqi-based terrorist organization, which the government did not identify. The government has received several warnings in recent months, however, that Aqaba had become a primary target...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: Post Finally Reports On Financing Issues ... Somewhere Else

Now we know why the Washington Post has still failed to file a single report on the ongoing scandal at Air America, where $875,000 of grant money earmarked for poor kids and Alzheimers patients wound up funding the liberal radio netlet. Aside from running the single AP overview of the New York City investigation into AAR's connection to the fraud, the Post has ignored the story. Apparently, their silence comes from a commitment of resources to another financial issue involving a political group, one that promises to shake the earth with this revelation (second item): The Christian Coalition is having a spat with a vendor over unpaid bills. That could be a bad sign for an advocacy group that was once one of the most potent and well-funded forces in conservative politics. Mailing giant Pitney Bowes is suing the Christian Coalition to recover unpaid postage fees. The firm, which provides...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: More On Atta Timeline

Andy McCarthy makes a good point on today's Corner at National Review Online regarding Able Danger and its impact on the timeline given for Mohammed Atta by the 9/11 Commission. He writes: The commission could, of course, be right. Its quite possible Atta never went to Prague in April 2001. But the commission could also be dead wrong. And for present purposes, the point is: how sure can we be of its Atta timeline? The timeline based on which the commission insists Atta was not in the U.S. before June 2000, and based on which it rejected Phillpott, whose account has now been seconded. McCarthy also recaps the known facts surrounding the timeline and the basics of the nagging Czech allegations that Atta met with an Iraqi diplomat and an IIS agent on April 9th, 2001, in Prague. McCarthy notes that the Commission rejected the Czech intelligence for several reasons:...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

CQ On The Air Today

I will be on Right Talk Radio today at around 4:00 PM ET for a segment with Ace of Spades and Karol Sheinin from Alarming News, talking about Able Danger and the 9/11 Commission. Go to Channel 1 and look for Hoist The Black Flag. Aargh, ye mateys ... UPDATE: Corrected the link; thanks to CQ reader Mike Morrissey....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Oklahoma Heartbreak

The AP reports that maverick Republican J.C. Watts has decided against a run for the governor's office in Oklahoma next year, disappointing conservatives in the Panhandle State: "I have determined that the timing for such an adventure is not right at this point in our lives," he said in a statement. He said he spent more than two months talking to voters across the state before reaching his decision. Watts is the second Republican to decide against making the race; Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin has announced she will run for re-election instead of running for governor. Their moves leave the GOP without a proven vote-getter with wide name recognition to challenge Gov. Brad Henry, the popular Democratic incumbent. Watts, 47, recently bought a home in the Washington, D.C., area, where he started a lobbying and consulting business after leaving Congress. I had an opportunity to meet Watts last year at...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Britain's Domestic Terrorists Win Round By Graverobbing

Animal-rights terrorists in Britain have forced breeders of laboratory guinea pigs to shut their business down in a last-ditch effort to get the body of their relative returned to them. Last fall, graverobbers stole the body of Gladys Hammond from her churchyard grave and extorted the Hall family to stop assisting the medical-research industry to have it returned to them, which they have now reluctantly agreed to do: David, John and Chris Hall said that Darley Oaks farm in Newchurch, Staffs, would close by the end of the year. Their family, friends and business associates have been subjected to a six-year campaign of terror and intimidation that culminated last October in activists digging up and stealing the remains of Chris Hall's 82-year-old mother-in-law, Gladys Hammond, from St Peter's churchyard in Yoxall, Staffs. Animal rights supporters celebrated the announcement but it was condemned by scientists as a triumph for mob rule...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 24, 2005

Recruitment: A View From The Front

Yesterday, after a series of conflicting numbers on recruitment and re-enlistment got bandied about in the media and the blogs (including CQ), I received an e-mail from a commanding officer of a unit stationed in the Middle East. This officer wanted to let me know how he thinks recruitment and re-enlistment has affected his unit, and based on his three decades in the service, how it compares to other periods. I know his name and unit, but as he wants to make clear that he speaks only for himself and not as a representative of his branch of the service, I am leaving his name and specific rank out of the e-mail. I wanted to make a point your post "WaPo Trots Out The Chickenhawk Smear". Some people probably don't understand the difference between recruitment and re-enlistment. Both have their values, but are separate and distinct, and complement each other....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Chertoff Indicates Higher Priority For Border Enforcement

DHS chief Michael Chertoff spoke to reporters at a breakfast meeting yesterday and gave an "unusually blunt assessment" of the security issues involving the southern border of the US. He described the difficulties in keeping illegals from crossing the border at will and even keeping those caught in custody, and described plans to correct the situation. While far from a complete solution, Chertoff at least gives the impression that the Bush administration might have started to take the problem more seriously: Acknowledging public frustration over illegal immigrants, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Tuesday that the federal government's border control efforts must be significantly strengthened. "We have decided to stand back and take a look at how we address the problem and solve it once and for all," Mr. Chertoff said at a breakfast meeting with reporters. "The American public is rightly distressed about a situation in which they feel...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

New Report On CIA Given To Congress

The long-awaited inspector general's report on the performance of the CIA has arrived at Congress, more than two years after Congress demanded a review of the agency's performance prior to 9/11. The Intelligence Committees in both chambers will unseal the report and decide what information to declassify for wide dissemination, possibly as early as today: Porter J. Goss, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, delivered a long-awaited internal report to Congress on Monday night that is said to give a harsh assessment of the agency's performance before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Mr. Goss, who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee before his appointment last year as head of the C.I.A., hand-delivered two copies of the classified report to staff members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The copies of the report, which is several hundred pages, were placed in committee safes and were not to...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

America Losing Ground To China In Central Asia?

Kazakhstan's foreign minister expressed his support for American engagement in the Central Asian republics that once formed the southern portion of the USSR and now play key roles in battling Islamofascist terror. However, he sounding a distinct if low-key warning that we may lose ground to China, who appears more willing to play ball with the kleptocrats in the region rather than push for the political reform desired by the Americans: Kazakhstan's foreign minister yesterday pledged his country's support for U.S. military operations in Central Asia and said his country worked to water down neighboring countries' efforts to evict American troops from the region. Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev added that the U.S. military presence since the 2001 Afghanistan war and China's emergence as a regional and global power were helping revive the 19th-century "Great Game" struggle for influence in the region. ... Kazakhstan, a U.S. ally and the only Central...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Who The Commission Chose To Believe

My new column at the Daily Standard, "Rethinking Prague", explores the issue of the timeline assigned to Mohammed Atta by the 9/11 Commission, especially in light of the multiple-sourced Able Danger revelations over the past two weeks. Now that three members of the secret data-mining operation have publicly verified that the intelligence pointed out Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers as potential al-Qaeda terrorists, it calls into question how the Commission established any of Atta's movements. Much of it comes from unchallenged assertions by two of the 9/11 plotters themselves, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh: IF ATTA HAD ALREADY MADE IT to the United States, how did the Commission establish this timeline? They deduced it from FBI interrogations of three sources: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, two of the plotters who helped create the 9/11 attacks, and Mohammed's nephew Ali Abdul Aziz Ali. The footnotes in the Report...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Doctor Reprimanded By Board For ... Honesty

In what may become a classic case of political correctness run amuck, a medical board has reprimanded a doctor for diagnosing a patient as "fat", ordering him to take a sensitivity course as a remedial step: Dr. Terry Bennett believes in being honest with his patients, but one woman was so offended about the way he spoke to her about her weight, she filed a complaint with the state Board of Medicine. The New Hampshire state attorney general launched an investigation, asked Bennett to take a medical education course and admit he has made a mistake. ... The case has some medical professionals concerned. "We are really walking on thin ice when we have the legal system coming into a doctor's office and saying what we can or cannot do," said Dr. Mark Fendrick, a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan. I'd say that Dr. Fendrick's concerns come...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Another Stranger To The 9/11 Narrative Surfaces

The German news magazine Der Spiegel profiles yet another terrorist linked to the 9/11 attack plot and the Hamburg cell whence it sprang. Luai Sakra surfaced in Turkey, and although he has some apparent stability issues, DS reports that the Syrian has worked as an informant for Western intelligence agencies. Either that, or Sakra knows how to spin fantasies that might cost him his life (h/t: CQ reader Rob P-M): Two weeks ago, Turkish police arrested an Islamist with ties to many upper tier al-Qaida members. The man not only tried to get asylum in Germany, but claims to have known about the London bombings beforehand and to have helped the 9/11 pilots. ... Turkish anti-terror officials held the suspected al-Qaida member for four days. Just after his arrest two weeks ago, Sakra admitted to planning strikes against Israeli cruise ships; he hoarded 750 kilograms of explosives for the purpose....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Ruffini Poll

I have been remiss in not providing a link to the Ruffini Poll on the 2008 Presidential election. I think it's too early to take much of this seriously; after all, we need to find out who can get themselves re-elected in their current positions, and we have plenty of time for those who look like a lock now to do something foolish and take themselves out of the running. A great example would be John McCain, who torpedoed himself by jumping in front of the Gang of 14 earlier this year. Bear in mind that this poll isn't scientific, and really only reflects the hyperaware readers of the blogs -- all you highly educated and supremely tasteful CQ readers, for instance, across the entire political spectrum. If you hit the poll from the above link, we should be able to track the CQ preferences for the 2008 race. When...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Skin 4: Two-Column War

If you haven't yet tried the new two-column format for Captain's Quarters, please click on the last CQ icon in the sidebar under the heading, Skin This Site (or clck here). Mel from Bonafide Style has finished the tweaks necessary to make the skin fully functional -- in fact, I've been using it for two weeks and I think it makes the site much easier to read. It loads much faster than the other skins, and best of all it retains the same look and feel of the default CQ skin while sprucing it up significantly. Let me know what you think, and if you have any web design needs, I can give my highest recommendations for Mel. She does great work, is highly responsive, and won't break the bankbook to get you the look you want for your site....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Musharraf: Khan Supplied NoKos With Centrifuges, Designs

Confirming the suspicions of many in the West, Pakistan's leader Pervez Musharraf stated for the record that Pakistani nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan gave centrifuges and their designs to the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Il, according to the Japanese news agency Kyodo: Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf has confirmed that disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan provided North Korea with centrifuge machines and their designs, Kyodo news agency said on Wednesday. Khan, revered in Pakistan as the man who gave his country the weapons capability to balance that of nuclear-armed neighbour and rival India, admitted last year to leaking nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. ... Asked about reports that Pakistan told Japanese government officials that Khan had given North Korea about 20 centrifuges, Musharraf was quoted as saying: "Yes, he passed centrifuges -- parts and complete. I do not exactly remember the number." The leap in...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Seattle -- Help Find Men Cowards Who Beat Two Soldiers

Seattle CQ readers should keep an eye out for these three men who severely beat two US soldiers who had just returned from Iraq and went out for a night on the town: KOMO-TV reports that these three mouthbreathers started the festivities by molesting women accompanying the soldiers at the dance club where the beating took place. The TV station has also posted the disturbing videotape of the attack on its website: The brutality of it all was captured on tape outside of Larry's Nightclub on First and Yesler on July 31. Police say the victims were with two women who'd been groped by the suspects. One of the women threw a hot dog at the suspects and walked away. They didn't get very far. The three suspects ran after them and began attacking the two men -- two soldiers who'd come home from the war. The graphic videotape shows...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 25, 2005

Roberts Opposition Gets Desperate For Issues

As the date for the Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court draws near, the opposition to his confirmation gets stranger and stranger. Having exhausted the Reagan-era data and found nothing objectionable, Democrats have started skipping any pretense of rationality, opting instead for nothing but empty scare tactics. Ralph Neas and Chuck Schumer took center stage yesterday in the Roberts Follies to once again demonstrate how little substance either employs in their obstructionist agenda. First, the People For the American Way (PFAW) announcement from Neas opposing Roverts got delivered as if the nation had held its breath wondering whether PFAW might support Roberts in the end. Neas' performance had me laughing while I listened to it on the radio, and I imagine it had greater comedic value live and in person. He told the gathered press that he wanted to be able to support...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Reform Starts With A Giant Step

John Bolton just made his presence known at Turtle Bay. The new American UN ambassador delivered a 36-page documents with 750 amendments and changes to a draft agreement that would bring unprecedented and sweeping reform to the United Nations: Less than a month before world leaders arrive in New York for a world summit on poverty and U.N. reform, the Bush administration has thrown the proceedings in turmoil with a call for drastic renegotiation of a draft agreement to be signed by presidents and prime ministers attending the event. The United States has only recently introduced more than 750 amendments that would eliminate new pledges of foreign aid to impoverished nations, scrap provisions that call for action to halt climate change and urge nuclear powers to make greater progress in dismantling their nuclear arms. At the same time, the administration is urging members of the United Nations to strengthen language...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: The Strange Spanish Interlude

The 9/11 Commission claimed to have discounted the testimony of Captain Scott Phillpott in July 2004 on Able Danger specifically because of his assertion about when his team identified Mohammed Atta as a potential al-Qaeda terrorist in the United States. The official timeline for the Commission on Atta starts on June 3, 2000, when INS records the first of only three entries for Atta in Newark, New Jersey. Captain Phillpott insists that his team ID'd Atta in the US in January or February 2000, months earlier. I covered the timeline issues in my Daily Standard column and in my follow-up post yesterday. I argued that the Commission's weak sourcing for the Atta timeline, essentially based on nothing but INS records and the testimony of two captured terrorists, reopens not only the question of when Atta first established his cell here but the long-debated Czech intelligence that has Atta meeting with...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Italians Hid Iraqi 'Insurgents'

The AP reports that the Italian Red Cross hid four Iraqi terrorists in exchange for the release of two Italian aid workers last year -- who promptly turned around and promoted their cause once they returned to Italy. The Italian government did not share this information with the US, and allowed the Iraqis to go free once they received the medical treatment they needed from their wounds sustained fighting Coalition forces: Italy's Red Cross treated four Iraqi insurgents and hid them from U.S. forces in exchange for the freedom of two Italian aid workers kidnapped last year in Baghdad, an official said in an interview published Thursday. Maurizio Scelli, the outgoing chief of the Italian Red Cross, told La Stampa newspaper that he kept the deal secret from U.S. officials, complying with "a nonnegotiable condition" imposed by Iraqi mediators who helped him secure the release of Simona Pari and Simona...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Congress Takes Charge (Update)

Senator Arlen Specter has announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the revelations surrounding Able Danger and plans to cover wider-ranging issues on intelligence and information sharing: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., plans to hold a hearing on the "Able Danger" allegations and the larger issue of information-sharing between the Pentagon and the FBI, FOX News has confirmed. ... One of the central Able Danger claims that military lawyers blocked the sharing of the Atta information from the FBI in the late summer and early fall of 2000 will be a priority of the committee's probe, FOX News has confirmed. Some analysts involved with Able Danger have recently gone public with their findings, saying they were discouraged from looking further into Atta, and their attempts to share their information with the FBI were thwarted, because Atta was a legal foreign visitor at the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Michael Yon's Must-Read

Many people have wondered what happened to war reporting. We had a glimpse of it during the actual invasion of Iraq, when over 700 journalists imbedded themselves in the fighting units and gave straight reporting on the action they witnessed. After the fall of Saddam, however, "embeds" found themselves viewed with disfavor, supposedly biased towards the troops, and the number of reporters attached to fighting units dropped to less than three dozen. One of those who remained is free-lancer Michael Yon, who publishes his work in blog form at Michael Yon: Online Magazine. A Special Forces veteran, Yon brings unique perspective about the war in Iraq through his words and pictures. What's so unique? His objectivity and immediacy. Try reading his latest article, "Gates of Fire", and find out why Yon may emerge as the best reporter of the war. Tom Elia at The New Editor notes a passage that...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Air America: The Sheldon Drobny Chronicles

Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney have posted their latest installment of their blog investigation into the Air America financial scandal, this time training a magnifying glass at the strange characters at the center of Piquant Media and the shell games surrounding AAR's ownership changes, Sheldon and Anita Drobny. The Drobnys started Air America but quickly faded into the background, allowing Evan Cohen and others to make themselves the public faces of the liberal radio netlet while the couple continued to pull all the strings almost anonymously: Drobny, a deep-pocketed, self-described venture capitalist from Chicago, is a strange duck who deserves much more media scrutiny than he's getting. In October 2003, NRO's Byron York explored his moonbat writings for a fringe website called Make Them Accountable here. York noted Drobny's Lyndon LaRouche connections and wrote: In the 1990s, conservatives came under heavy criticism for relying on funding from the foundation run...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

AP: CIA Reports Wants Heads To Roll

According to confidential sources with access to the secret CIA inspector-general's report, the classified document just released to Congress calls for disciplinary action against senior CIA officials. The new CIA director, Porter Goss, must weigh those recommendations against the disruption that a series of disciplinary reviews would cause in the middle of a war: The CIA's independent watchdog has recommended disciplinary reviews for current and former officials who were involved in failed intelligence efforts before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, The Associated Press has learned. ... The proceedings, formally called an accountability board, were recommended by the CIA inspector general, John Helgerson. It remains unclear which people are identified for the accountability boards in the highly classified report spanning hundreds of pages. The report was delivered to Congress Tuesday night. Following a two-year review into what went wrong before the suicide hijackings, people familiar with the report say Helgerson...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: Tales of the North Pacific

Hawaii has evidently decided that capitalism, while an interesting theory, doesn't really work. As Adam Savage says every week on Mythbusters, "I reject your reality and substitute my own!" (They have also decided that the whole "Constitution" thingie was a bust and are beavering away to institute Bantustans across the state; but that's a subject for a different post.) Four years ago, the Democratic Hawaii state legislature and Democratic Governor Benjamin Cayetano bowed to the high priests of fundamenalist liberalism and enacted Act 77, which set a "maximum pre-tax wholesale price of gasoline" in the islands, as well as capping the retail price. This applies both to gasoline from Hawaii's two refineries and also gasoline imported directly. (A 2004 amendment, Senate Bill 3193, removed the price controls from the retail side.) Evidently not wanting Gov. Cayetano to suffer the likely consequences of such price controls, the legislature delayed the original...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

French Intelligence: Asia Next Big AQ Target

France's counterintelligence chief told the Financial Times that al-Qaeda's next attack against Western interests will likely fall on Asia, probably in Japan, Singapore, or even Sydney, Australia. A serious attack could destabilize the Far East economy, sending ripples throughout the global markets and creating the fear and withdrawal that Osama bin Laden wants to produce: In an interview with the Financial Times newspaper Friday, Jean-Louis Bruguiere added that several Asian countries are less prepared than Britain or the United States for such an attack. "We have elements of information that make us think that countries in this region, especially Japan, could have been targeted" by the Al-Qaeda network, the investigating magistrate said. "Any attack on a financial market like Japan would mechanically have an important economic impact on the confidence of investors. Other countries in this region, such as Singapore and Australia, are also potential targets." Despite the threat, he...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

And He Squeezes The Charmin, Too

I must say that, unlike my friend Hugh Hewitt, I must agree with Jihad el Khazen's assessment of John Hinderaker in the Lebanon-based Islamist news outlet Dar al-Hayat. Khazen, or Crazy Ji as we call him around the watercooler, gets to the essence of John's insolence: John H. Hinderaker is even more insolent that the former, for he published an article in the Weekly Standard which is a magazine speaking on behalf of the neo-cons, under the title: Fences and a Just Peace. The subtitle of the article reads: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America makes a stand against Israels security fence and in favor of a just peace. (Never mind Palestinian terrorism.) Sharon is the father and mother of Israeli terrorism. He who cover up for him is his alike. Many American Churches took the decision of putting an end to their investments in Israel. The new Pope reprimanded...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 26, 2005

UN: You-Know-Who Hindering Hariri Investigation

The United Nations team investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri issued a statement that reveals Syrian interference and lack of cooperation to the UN Security Council. Assad's regime in Damascus has blocked access to witnesses and failed to release documents that relate to the murder which eventually led to the collapse of Syria's position in Lebanon. However, the UNSC failed to directly criticize the Assad government, thanks to their Russian sponsors: Syria is not co-operating with an international investigation into the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a UN official has said. Damascus has yet to give investigators access to key witnesses and documents, the UN's Under Secretary General said. The UN Security Council later passed a motion urging "all parties" to aid the investigation, while the US' UN envoy called Syria's stance "unacceptable". ... Syria has failed to respond to a request from the investigators to provide...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Project Valour IT

You'll notice that today's Day By Day cartoon, besides its normal humor, promotes an effort to provide voice-command laptop computers to service members injured in the war. Project Valour IT is run by Soldier's Angels, a fine organization that adopts soldiers and Marines on the front lines to make sure each of our fighting men and women have someone back home supporting them. You can find out more about Project Valour IT there, or at the following blogs: Blackfive Dean's World Fuzzilicious And here at From My Position, meet the soldier that inspired Project Valour IT....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

What Day Will The Washington Post Announce Its Opposition?

The Washington Post resumes its double-barrelled shotgun approach to the nomination of John Roberts on page A02 of the paper today, running two reports critical of the Supreme Court nominee. The first, by Jim VandeHei, notes that the gay community has shrugged off the pro bono work done by Roberts to announce their opposition to his confirmation. The announcement comes with the hysteria thus far associated with almost all of the opposition to Roberts (emphases mine): "For his entire adult life, John Roberts has been a disciple of and promoted a political and legal ideology that is antithetical to an America that embraces all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in a statement. "I have no doubt he's an accomplished lawyer and an affable dinner companion, but that doesn't make him any less a mortal danger...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Mom-He-Hit-Me-Back Accusation

Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of destabilizing the shaky cease-fire that has more or less accompanied the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip with a strike against a leader of Islamic Jihad, the New York Times reports. Oddly, Abbas fails to mention that the strike followed rocket attacks on Israel in both the north and the south: The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel on Thursday of undermining peace efforts with an undercover military raid in the West Bank city of Tulkarm in which five Palestinians were killed. Israel said all five were "armed wanted terrorists," including an Islamic Jihad leader who had orchestrated two suicide bombings, but Palestinians said three of the dead were unarmed teenagers. Israel's evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank improved the atmosphere recently, but a series of violent incidents has prompted renewed recriminations. On Wednesday night a 21-year-old Jewish...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Third Source Steps Up, Gives Even More Details

The third source to go public from the Able Danger team confirms that the secret Army datamining project identified Mohammed Atta as a potential al-Qaeda terrorist in early 2000. J.D. Smith also corroborates Col. Tony Shaffer's account that they told 9/11 Commission staffers about the Atta identification, and fulfilled blogger AJStrata's prediction that the connection came through Omar Abdel Rahman (via Tom Maguire): J.D. Smith, a defense contractor who claims he worked on the technical side of the unit, code-named "Able Danger", told reporters Friday that he helped gather open-source information (search), reported on government spending and helped generate charts associated with the unit's work. Able Danger was set up in the 1990s to track Al Qaeda activity worldwide. "I am absolutely positive that he [Atta] was on our chart among other pictures and ties that we were doing mainly based upon [terror] cells in New York City," Smith said....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Ruffini Calls Me Out

Patrick Ruffini has wrapped up his highly successful and intriguing presidential straw poll, designed to not only determine the front-running Republicans in the blogosphere but to break down the demographics in several categories. Readers can see the results at this post, and use the drop-down boxes to see the breakdowns. Patrick even compares the results based on blogger endorsements, noting that I had withheld mine and asking me for it now. The win for Rudy Giuliani surprised me, given the less-than-centrist nature of the blogosphere. I love Rudy; he showed the world in the hours, days, and weeks after 9/11 that Americans would not allow themselves to be defeated. His grit, determination, and courage inspired all of us. He's great on the stump, too, one of the best speakers we have in politics on either side. But that's the problem with Rudy -- he's on either side in too many...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 27, 2005

Able Danger: Mixed Wires And Chinese Fried Rice

As people often say, you just can't make this stuff up. A couple of revelations today on Able Danger not only give more background on the secret data-mining project and the failure to use its information to stop Mohammed Atta a year before 9/11, they also tend to confirm that it indeed qualified as a government-run program. First, AJ Strata points readers to the Norristown Times-Herald, where Shaffer vents a bit of frustration at the Senate Judiciary Committee: Though the original chart has not been unearthed, several other facsimiles have been recreated showing the terrorist links. Shaffer said about 20 boxes full of documents existed on "Able Danger" when he was involved. The Pentagon's Office of General Counsel is ultimately responsible for legal decisions, he said, and he believes getting hold of the legal papers on "Able Danger" is paramount to resolving the controversy. "If I could have one (set...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Ellsworth Saved, Thune Ascendant

Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan. That proverb sounded particularly inapt in South Dakota yesterday when the Base Re-Alignment and Closure Commission announced that Ellsworth Air Force Base would be removed from the list of military facilities facing closure or significant reductions. Everyone knew that in this case, success and failure only had one father -- the man who unseated the Senate's Democratic leader on the promise to keep it open: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) sat tense, crouched and glowering as the base-closing commission delivered its verdict about Ellsworth Air Force Base in the ballroom of a Crystal City hotel yesterday, then leapt up gleefully when the bomber base's death sentence was commuted. The 44-year-old's political career may have been spared as well. Last fall, Thune unseated Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) in part by claiming that a Republican tight with the White House would...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Are We Looking In The Right Direction?

CQ reader Ginetta sent me a message earlier today regarding some further Able Danger dots that she had connected. She read Countdown to Crisis by Kenneth Timmerman (a book which I have but have not yet read), a book which focuses on the nascent nuclear threat from Iran. However, after reading about Able Danger here at CQ and the numerous questions it raises about our understanding of al-Qaeda, Ginetta noticed that a passage at the beginning of Chapter 24 might connect Able Danger not just to al-Qaeda but to Iran as well. Recall that Captain Scott Phillpott went to the 9/11 Commission about a week before Philip Zelikow wrote the report to again inform the staffers about the identification of Mohammed Atta in early 2000, and being turned away. In what seems to be a strange coincidence, Kenneth Timmerman describes a commotion among the Commission staff at exactly the same...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Trouble In River City

Earlier this evening, I did a quick post on a passage in Kenneth Timmerman's new book Countdown to Crisis that matches up to the timeframe when Captain Scott Phillpott went to the 9/11 Commission to insist that his secret datamining unit had identified Mohammed Atta as a potential al-Qaeda terrorist in early 2000. Timmerman, whose book came out prior to the Able Danger revelations, notes that 9/11 Commission report author and staff director Philip Zelikow called his subordinates in for a meeting at that same point in time to review explosive new information that tied Iran to al-Qaeda. In my last post, the analyst who first reviewed the documents reacted by saying, "There's trouble in River City," a line from the musical The Music Man, a story about a lovable con artist who delivers in the end. Reading further into Timmerman's Chapter 24 will give the impression that the reference...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 28, 2005

Releasing Terrorists From Abu Ghraib, Killing Their Travel Agent

CNN reports that the Coalition appears quite proud to announce that they have released over 1,000 detainees from Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad at the request of the Iraqi government. The statement from the Multi-National Forces sound all the right themes about sovereignty and cooperation while ignoring the risk to their soldiers that such releases have caused. However, CNN uses the announcement to bury the lead, as it appends yesterday's Centcom announcement that American forces killed a major figure assisting the movement of terrorists to the end of the article (and Confederate Yankee scooped CNN on this development yesterday): Meanwhile, a man described as a "major facilitator of foreign fighters and suicide bombers into northern Iraq" was killed by coalition forces Thursday in Mosul, the U.S. military said Saturday. Abu Khallad, a Saudi national, was found after intelligence sources and tips led Multi-National Forces to his location in Mosul. "Upon...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

A Parting Gift For The Israelis

If people expected that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, during which they used armed force to send their citizens back into Israel in order to leave the territory to the Palestinians, would result in a gesture commensurate with the Palestinian desire for peace, today's news confirms this. A Palestinian bomber wounded 21 Israeli civilians in Beersheba, near Gaza, in a suicide-bomb attack on a bus this morning: Twenty-one people were wounded Sunday, two seriously, in a suicide bombing at a central bus station in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba, Israeli officials said. ... There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which took place three days after Israeli troops killed five Palestinians. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has vowed retribution for that incident. ... Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called a "terrorist attack" and called for "calm and restraint in spite of the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Fritz Hollings Connected Iraq To 9/11

Perhaps Senator Fritz Hollings cannot claim to have first connected Iraq to 9/11, but he did point out for the record an odd literary coincidence in a speech on the Senate floor on September 12, 2002, the day after the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Hollings entered an editorial into the Congressional record from the Iraqi newspaper Al-Nasiriyah, which he noted appears curious for its eerily prescient language: America says, admitting just like a bird in the midst of a tornado, that Bin Ladin is behind the bombing of its destroyer in Aden. The fearful series of events continues for America and the terror within America gets to the point that the Governor of Texas increases the amount of the award, just as the stubbornness of the other man and his challenge increases. This challenge makes it such that one of his grandchildren comes from Jeddah traveling on the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 29, 2005

Katrina Weakening?

Katrina has shifted in the last hours before complete landfall and weakened slightly, perhaps giving New Orleans enough respite to survive its fury, according to the latest dispatches from the National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Katrina edged slightly to the east early Monday as it bore down on the Gulf Coast, providing some hope that the worst of the storm's 150 mph winds might not directly strike this low-lying city. Katrina, which weakened slightly overnight to a strong Category 4 storm, turned slightly eastward as it closed in on land, which would put the western eyewall the weaker side of the strongest winds over New Orleans. "It's not as bad as the eastern side. It'll be plenty bad enough," said Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Mayor Ray Nagin said he believed 80 percent of the city's 480,000 residents had heeded an unprecedented mandatory evacuation as...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Sunnis Gamble And Lose On Constitution

Despite two extensions and the outreach effort that allowed outsized representation on the drafting committee, in the end the Sunnis would not show enough flexibility to complete an agreement on the new Iraqi constitution. The National Assembly has decided to exercise democracy over consensus and send the draft to a vote, a decision that threatens once again to marginalize the Sunnis unless they participate in the electoral process: Iraqi leaders completed a draft of a permanent constitution Sunday after three months of negotiations that left Sunni Arabs unsatisfied, setting up a potentially divisive nationwide referendum on the document to be held by Oct. 15. Members of the committee that convened in May to write the document ended their official duties by signing the draft and sending it to the National Assembly, where it was read aloud to members. Some Sunnis, who had unsuccessfully sought the elimination of a clause allowing...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Bloggers Spearhead Egyptian Opposition

In a country where opposition historically brought oppression, even a moderate loosening of the autocratic controls on dissent has not kept an underground movement from forming in the blogosphere. Egypt has allowed for multi-party elections for the first time in decades and has even permitted some limited criticisms and demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak. However, in the growing Egyptian blogging community, the gloves come off and the real criticisms flow freely: Baheyya is Egyptian, pillories President Hosni Mubarak and heaps scorn on his regime daily. But this fiery dissident who says aloud what others don't dare to think has no face: Baheyya is a blog. In an Egyptian presidential campaign that has failed to generate much enthusiasm, one of the hottest debates is taking place online in the country's burgeoning political blogosphere. "In every normal election, people have their eyes trained on the result: who wins, who loses, and how things...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger: Chart Existed In 2002

Newsmax reports that a chart shown at a Heritage Foundation event in May 2002 by Curt Weldon came from the Able Danger program, and that the classified version of it would have shown Atta in the picture (h/t: CQ reader Ginetta): A third of the way through his May 23, 2002 address on data fusion techniques, the video shows Rep. Weldon unfurling a copy of the now missing document and displaying it to the Heritage audience. "This is the unclassified chart that was done by the Special Forces Command briefing center one year before 9/11," he explains. "It is the complete architecture of al Qaeda and pan-Islamic extremism. It gives all the linkages. It gives all the capabilities. . . ." Though Weldon never mentions Able Danger or Atta by name - and the video never zooms in on the chart to the point where Atta's photo is identifiable -...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Camp Casey Diary From A CQ Reader

CQ reader Curtis Loftis decided to check out the digs at Camp Casey firsthand, trekking to Crawford for a couple of days to see how the anti-war demonstrations have been staged for himself. He sent me this e-mail on his return with his thoughts and observations. I thought it might interest the rest of the CQ community. Two Days In Camp Casey: A Conservative's odyssey in the belly of the beast. I arrived at the original Camp Casey at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was hot and dry and the assembled demonstrators were in a melancholy state. I quickly made friends, stressing cocktail conversation, not political discussion. My goal was not confrontation, but a desire to understand what was actually happening here in Crawfordand being incognito was the only way this would happen. After bonding with several nice ladies from the central coast of California, I drove with these new...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: the Great Wall of FISA

Several previous posts here have discussed Jamie Gorelick's wall of separation between intelligence and law enforcement, enunciated by her now-infamous 1995 memo to U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, FBI Director Louis Freeh, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Jo Ann Harris, and Justice Department Counsel for Intelligence Richard Scruggs, who also ran the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. As the OIPR may well have played a role in preventing the intelligence on Mohammed Atta and three other eventual 9/11 hijackers from reaching the FBI, and as this may be related to Bill Clinton's China problem (as a number of commenters on past Able-Danger posts here have suggested), it's worth taking a look at this agency and its chief counsel in 2000, Frances Fargo Townsend. The OIPR The counsel for intelligence at the Justice Department is also general counsel for the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 30, 2005

Roberts -- Conservative But Not Crazy

Two news articles report on the release of additional material from the career of John Roberts, giving more ammunition to the opponents of his nomination to the Supreme Court while not providing any revelations or bomb bursts. Curiously, the pair continue the pattern of seeing more balanced coverage from the New York Times than the almost-hysterical tone provided on Roberts by the Washington Post. For its part, the New York Times sticks to the relevant issues rather than rhetorical flourishes, and provides evidence both of Roberts' conservative leanings and common-sense approach to political extremism. Roberts expressed concern over the increasing police power that government agencies had taken, seeing this as an ever-increasing encroachment on individual rights. He advised the Reagan team that federal police powers should instead remain limited to the Justice and Treasury departments: Mr. Roberts's advice was in a May 16, 1984, memorandum to the White House counsel,...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Virigina Withdrawal Presaging Presidential Brawl?

The Washington Post reports that Virginia Governor Mark Warner will not run against George Allen in the latter's bid for re-election next year, making the incumbent's bid look much easier than expected. Allen had geared up his campaign to run against the popular governor who could have put a major dent in Republican plans to hold and expand their Senate majority. Instead, Warner will have two years to prepare for an even bigger race -- one which might find him eventually pitted against the same opponent: Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) plans to announce Tuesday that he will not challenge Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) next year, leaving the popular Democrat free to explore a presidential bid, several close associates said Monday. Warner, who leaves office in January, will announce his decision on his monthly radio show on WTOP, said Virginia Democratic Party Chairman C. Richard Cranwell, a Warner confidant....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Data Mining Attacks Privacy: Congress

In one indication as to why the Pentagon might have wanted to keep the existence of Able Danger from becoming public, Congress has determined that data-mining presents a danger to privacy, although so far no one has demanded an end to the practice. The GAO reports that a sample of five agencies using the technique routinely violated safeguards intended to protect citizens from unnecessary incursions by the government: None of five federal agencies using electronic data mining to track terrorists, catch criminals or prevent fraud complied with all rules for gathering citizen information. As a result, they cannot ensure that individual privacy rights are appropriately protected, congressional investigators said Monday. The agencies' lapses either "increased the risk that personal information could be improperly exposed or altered" or "limited the ability of the public including those individuals whose information was used to participate in the management of that personal...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

More Dots Missing From The Omission Commission

The invaluable Steven Hayes presents yet even more information that never made it into the supposedly comprehensive 9/11 Commission report in this week's edition of the Weekly Standard. Hayes reports that two figures tied to both the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and Iraq also have ties to the 9/11 hijackers -- but Americans relying on the independent panel tasked with providing the definitive look into the latter would never know it: AHMED HIKMAT SHAKIR IS A shadowy figure who provided logistical assistance to one, maybe two, of the 9/11 hijackers. Years before, he had received a phone call from the Jersey City, New Jersey, safehouse of the plotters who would soon, in February 1993, park a truck bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center. The safehouse was the apartment of Musab Yasin, brother of Abdul Rahman Yasin, who scorched his own leg while mixing the...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Up Again, For Now

Having problems hitting the site today? You had good company; it looks like the servers have been down for about half of the day today. Hosting Matters has worked hard to reroute around a couple of breakdowns, but now we appear to be going strong. As far as I know, none of the outages had anything to do with CQ. I received a few e-mails while the servers were up asking if my site had been hacked. Not my site, but apparently HM had to deal with some sort of DoS attack on one of its other servers during the middle of everything else. All I can do is shake my head and wonder what small little lives some people lead. Thankfully, the good folks at HM know how to deal with these attacks and should have the rest of their clients up again soon. I'll start working again soon...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Adding Insult To Death

Leave it to the current German government and their knee-jerk anti-Americanism to try to score political points off of the natural catastrophe occuring in New Orleans. As many of the blogosphere have already pointed out, German environmental minister Juergen Tritten blamed George Bush for Hurricane Katrina and the deadly devestation it inflicted on New Orleans and Gulfport this week. Der Spiegel also reports that Tritten is hardly alone among Germans in believing that George Bush controls the weather: The toughest commentary of the day comes from Germany's Environmental Minister, Jrgen Trittin, a Green Party member, who takes space in the Frankfurter Rundschau, a paper owned by the Social Democrats, to bash US President George W. Bush's environmental laxity. He begins by likening the photos and videos of the hurricane stricken areas to scenes from a Roland Emmerich sci-fi film and insists that global warming and climate change are making it...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Able Danger Fox Trot III: Dances With Pentagon

AJ Strata and Tom Maguire both link to a WTOP report on an apparent shift at the Pentagon on the question of Able Danger's ID of Mohammed Atta. Last week, Larry di Rita could barely contain his cynicism at the tale told by Colonel Tony Shaffer. Today, however, the Pentagon demonstrated that it can count: The Pentagon appears to have reversed its position on Able Danger, the Army intelligence collection team. A Pentagon spokesman now says "there's no reason to doubt the specific recollections" of the growing number of team members. The team members say the project had pre-Sept. 11 intelligence on al Qaida, which Defense Department lawyers prohibited them from sharing with the FBI. What does this reversal mean? Besides demonstrating an ability to count to three, I think it means that the Pentagon has completed its search for the missing Able Danger materials. Either they found more information...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

August 31, 2005

Yes, Virginia, There Really Are Communists, Just Not That Many

Dana Milbank and Alan Cooperman do a pretty good job of making John J. Tierney look like an alarmist nut based on their report of his presentation at the Heritage Foundation yesterday. His upcoming book apparently researches the funding and momentum behind the burgeoning anti-war protest industry and finds a lot of evidence that it primarily consists of unreconstructed communists. The Washington Post report of the event has Tierney painting a pretty broad brush on this score, however, and starts out by using what it believes to be a killer emotional rebuttal: Cindy Sheehan: anti-American communist? That was the accusation coming yesterday from the Heritage Foundation, which hosted author John J. Tierney Jr. for a forum titled "The Politics of Peace: What's Behind the Anti-War Movement?" ... Tierney, of the Institute of World Politics, identified five groups: ANSWER, Not in Our Name, Code Pink, United for Peace and Justice, and...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

RFK Jr Releases Hot Gas Into The Political Atmosphere

Following on the heels of the Germans, Robert Kennedy Jr uses his science-challenged approach to also exploit Hurricane Katrina and the deaths of Americans in order to score a few political potshots at George Bush. Demonstrating the same hysterical scientific illiteracy that has characterized his scare campaign against vaccinations, Kennedy blames Mississippi governor Haley Barbour for killing his fellow citizens before their bodies have even been found, and suggests that God punished Mississippi specifically: As Hurricane Katrina dismantles Mississippis Gulf Coast, its worth recalling the central role that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour played in derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bushs iron-clad campaign promise to regulate CO2. ... Now we are all learning what its like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and--now--Katrina is giving our nation...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Freedom's Silver Anniversary

Americans may have forgotten about this date, but Eastern Europeans should celebrate the 25th anniversary of the singular event that spelled doom for four decades of Soviet oppression -- the formation of Solidarity, the first independent trade union behind the Iron Curtain: The Polish city of Gdansk on Wednesday took the world's collective memory back 25 years to the day when a strike at the sprawling Lenin shipyard on the Baltic Sea ended and Solidarity, the first free trade union in the communist bloc, was born. The main streets of the Baltic seaport were draped in the red and white of Poland, with Solidarity logos and huge posters recalling that the wave of strikes across the country in August 1980, but especially the much-publicised Gdansk shipyard strike, were the first brave steps towards ending communism in Europe. ... On August 31, 25 years ago, Walesa emerged from more than two...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

The Great Not There

My column today at the Daily Standard, "Accounting for the Final Report", reviews the standing of the 9/11 Commission report, the supposedly definitive and final word on the worst foreign attack on American soil. Able Danger started a steady stream of revelations that the Omission Commission either missed or deliberately ignored -- and a couple of patterns emerge from this new data. These patterns directly compromise the narrative and the recommendations of the Commission: WHAT DID THE 9/11 COMMISSION CONCLUDE? Despite the highly coordinated nature of the attacks, the enormous scale of the plot, and the commando tactics used by the hijackers--a combination of elements that had not previously or since been seen in al Qaeda attacks--the report concluded that the only state which sponsored Osama bin Laden in 9/11 was Afghanistan and its Taliban government. The report explicitly concluded that no operational connection existed between the 9/11 attacks and...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: Global Hot Air From a Different Kennedy

Continuing the political flailing and floccillation of the Democratic Party, today a renowned Kennedy eructated an astonishing blast of hot air at former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour. No, it wasn't Teddy; sorry. It was Robert Kennedy, jr. On Friday, RFKjr huffed into the Huffington Post a hit piece on Gov. Barbour... but psssst, really on President Bush. Bobby jr., who also broadcasts on Air America and hasn't had any heroin in, like, years, began with an escalating recitation of startling facts about Barbour -- such as the eerie coincidence that, as the chairman of the RNC, he gave George Bush advice -- all designed to prove that Barbour had more impact urging Bush not to flog the dead Kyoto Protocol horse than Christie Todd Whitman did on the other side. That startling revelation out of the way, Bobbie descends into the sort of overheated rhetoric about global warming...

« July 2005 | September 2005 »

Dafydd: the Tragedy of Hysteria

This is truly stunning: more people were just killed by a lemming-like panic on a bridge in Baghdad than have been slain in any suicide bombing in Iraq (and far more than were killed by Hurricane Katrina). Sometimes, you just don't know what to say. UPDATE: Alas, the estimated death toll from Hurricane Katrina has been raised dramatically; estimates vary, but it will likely be significantly greater than thought yesterday. There is enough tragedy to go all around, and then some....

« July 2005 | September 2005 »